Virtual experience planned for popular tourney week
SALISBURY –– Due to growing concerns related to COVID-19, the Board of Directors for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) has voted to cancel the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball seasons, which was set to begin January 9, to include the 2021 CIAA Basketball Tournament. In addition, the board also voted to cancel the women’s volleyball season, which had been moved to the spring from the fall.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, Livingstone College Athletics has always kept the safety and well-being of its student-athletes, coaches, staff and supporters as the main priority when decisions are made about practice and competition. We have no intentions of being cavalier in our approach to this situation,” said Livingstone College Athletic Direct Lamonte J. Massie-Sampson.
“I met with all three of my head coaches and we discussed the next phase of this scenario,” he said. “Getting our student-athletes home safely and ready to return to campus in February is the priority now. We will see what the science, data and common sense says when they return to determine what our next steps will be.”
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to challenge the conference’s ability to see a clear path to move forward collectively. The impact to health and wellness, community concerns, as well as the economic ramifications are real,” said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. “I want to commend our Board of Directors for exemplifying courageous leadership in college sports to ensure the well-being of the CIAA as well as the health and safety of our student-athletes and communities.”
“This was not an easy decision or one that was taken lightly by the CIAA Board,” said Virginia State University President and CIAA Board Chair Dr. Makola Abdullah. “We all want to have a season, and we want our student-athletes, coaches and staff to have a season. However, the data, which changes almost daily, does not support such a decision. The potential risk outweighs the desire to play.”
In lieu of games being cancelled and no in-person events, the CIAA still plans to engage alumni, students, and fans during what is traditionally tournament week, in the last week of February, through a virtual experience. The platform will feature a host of ancillary events – including several that have become cornerstones of tournament week such as CIAA Fan Fest and the CIAA Step Show. More details, including a full schedule of events, interactive fan promotions, and other activations, will be released at a later time.
A decision on spring seasons and championships will be provided later as the conference and its membership continue to monitor the COVID-19 landscape while following current federal, state, local, NCAA and campus guidelines.
About Livingstone College
Livingstone College is a private historically black college that is secured by a strong commitment to quality instruction, academic excellence and student success. Through a Christian-based environment suitable for holistic learning, Livingstone provides excellent business, liberal arts, STEAM, teacher education and workforce development programs for students from all ethnic backgrounds designed to promote lifelong learning, and to develop student potential for leadership and service to a global community. For more information, visit www.livingstone.edu