NAIA ruling ends Rio Grande spring sports

Published 10:43 pm Monday, March 16, 2020

Randy Payton
U. of Rio Grande Sports Information

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The 2020 season for the University of Rio Grande’s Spring athletic teams has come to an end.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced Monday that, due to growing health concerns regarding COVID-19, it was canceling the 2020 season.
“After convening the Council of Presidents Executive Committee this morning, and with input from the National Administrative Council and National Eligibility Committee, the decision has been made to cancel the spring 2020 sports season, effective immediately,” NAIA President & CEO, Jim Carr, said in a release. “We know this is extremely disappointing, especially for our student-athletes. All possible options for maintaining the spring season were discussed at great length by multiple governance groups. However, the growing state of emergency due to COVID-19, as well as the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation yesterday to limit gatherings to fewer than 50 people for eight weeks, meant we could not in good conscience move forward, possibly putting student-athletes, staff, and fans at risk.”
Last Thursday, Rio Grande was part of the River States’ Conference’s shutdown of all athletic-related activities through the end of March.
Hours later, the school went a step further by announcing a shutdown of the campus – and all subsequent activities – through April 6.
Monday’s announcement means that Rio Grande baseball finished its season at 4-21 after a split of its non-conference doubleheader against Fisher (Mass.) College last Wednesday.
The RedStorm softball program closes its campaign at 12-12 after going 8-0 on a Spring Break trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. last week. The stoppage of play means that head coach Chris Hammond’s team never got to play at home this season.
Rio’s track & field and golf teams had yet to begin their spring schedules, while the RedStorm men’s bowling team had their trip to the United States Bowling Congress Sectional Tournament in Addison, Ill. called off while en route to the tournament last Friday.
Carr added that spring sports athletes will not be charged with a season of competition and that a decision on winter sports athletes whose seasons were not completed is forthcoming.
“In an effort to provide relief, any spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled full-time in 2020 will be awarded two additional semester terms of attendance or the equivalent,” Carr said. “We know there are outstanding questions regarding relief for winter sport student-athletes, implications on transfer regulations, and impacts to academic eligibility rules. We are working closely with the appropriate governance groups to determine answers and will continue to share information with membership as it becomes available.”
Rio Grande had eight seniors on its baseball roster; seven on the men’s track & field roster; two each on the softball, women’s track & field and men’s bowling rosters; and one each on the men’s and women’s golf rosters.

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