USA Ultimate officially announced today the postponement of both the Division I and Division III College Championships due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The D-III championships were scheduled for May 16-17 in Obetz, Ohio, while the D-I championships were set for May 22-25 in Milwaukee.
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) ongoing recommendation to suspend mass gatherings, state public health emergencies declared in Ohio and Wisconsin, increased government lockdowns, extended closures of athletic facilities, virtually all colleges and universities limiting travel and activity of its sports teams for the remainder of the school year, and the uncertainty surrounding the duration of these restrictions and the future impact of the outbreak, it’s evident that these events can no longer continue as planned in a safe and fair manner.
Since the emergence of the coronavirus, USA Ultimate has continued to emphasize the health, safety and well-being of its members, volunteers, staff, fans and the community at large as its most important concern. With that priority in mind, and after continued consultation with its college and medical working groups, event organizers and local partners, USA Ultimate has shifted its efforts to rescheduling the tournaments for a later date in 2020. Before any firm plans can be put into place, USA Ultimate, along with its community volunteers, must together analyze and consider a variety of factors, including student-athlete eligibility issues, conflict with club division events, competition structures and formats, university calendars and club sports department regulations, venue availability and the continued, unknown future impact of COVID-19.
“It hits us all with especially heavy hearts to know that the college championship events are being postponed,” commented USA Ultimate Board of Directors President Robyn Fennig. “I know that the college working group, volunteers and staff at USA Ultimate will come up with the best contingency option given the circumstances for a national championship to highlight the college division while considering the complexities of eligibility and with fairness in mind. I hope that everyone impacted by this decision knows how much we worked to avoid this as the window to compete in this division is so limited. The college division really announces the start of our competition calendar in a typical year, but we look forward to a fall option that helps us punctuate the end of a tough 2020 calendar year with some optimism and celebration.”
While USA Ultimate regrets not being able to bring these events to Columbus and Milwaukee this spring, we are currently working with Uihlein Soccer Park, Visit Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Ultimate Club to bring the 2021 edition of the College Championships back to southeastern Wisconsin on its traditional Memorial Day weekend. We have also initiated discussions with 2020 D-III championship co-organizer, Oshadega, LLC, to inquire about the possibility of hosting the 2021 event.
USA Ultimate staff is also continuing the conversation with its college working group and key volunteers as it considers the idea of extending an additional year of eligibility to a subset of student-athletes affected by the shortened regular season and cancelled or postponed championship series events. Once a determination has been made, it will be communicated publicly.