The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) has announced that it will suspend all intercollegiate athletics competition through December 31, 2020. In a unanimous vote of the WIAC’s Council of Chancellors, the conference has joined most other NCAA Division III conferences in pushing sports until the spring semester.
The suspension includes the conference sports of men’s and women’s swimming. Also included are men’s and women’s basketball, women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, and wrestling.
“Further, the WIAC will continue to gather information and monitor developments in order to best determine a competitive structure during the spring semester,” the conference said in a statement. “At the same time, the Conference is committed to providing an engaging and meaningful experience for student-athletes.”
The conference was responsible for qualifying 4 swimmers, 2 male and 2 female, for the 2020 NCAA Division III Championships, which were eventually canceled. That includes UW Eau Claire’s Collin Miller, who was the 2019 Division III National Champion in the 100 breaststroke and the second-fastest breaststroker in Division III history behind US National Team member Andrew Wilson. Miller exhausted his NCAA eligibility at the end of last season.
The NCAA Division III committee has pushed all fall sports championships to the spring already, and has recommended that all Division III Championships this season have about 75% of normal participant levels.
The state of Wisconsin, where all of the conference’s schools are located, has had modest levels of coronavirus infections throughout the pandemic. Over the last 2 weeks, however, has become a new hotspot. The state recorded 2,592 new positive tests on Friday, the same day as the WIAC made the announcement, which was a new record high. Much of this increase has been attributed to college campuses; for example, UW-La Crosse, a member of the WIAC, has paused in-person instruction for 2 weeks after an outbreak.
With only 205 deaths attributed to COVID-19 per 100,000 population, Wisconsin has among the lowest death rates from the coronavirus of any state in the country, especially among large urban states.
2020 WIAC Conference Swimming & Diving Championships Results:
Men’s Team Scores – Final
1. UW-Stevens Point 964
2. UW-Eau Claire 807
3. UW-Whitewater 571
4. UW-La Crosse 407
5. UW-Oshkosh 325
Women’s Team Scores – Final
1. UW-La Crosse 812.50
2. UW-Eau Claire 777
3. UW-Whitewater 603.50
4. UW-Stevens Point 559
5. UW-Oshkosh 369