The Varsity Blues faced difficult news this past week with the cancellation of all programming and championships until March 31, 2021, as announced in a statement from Ontario University Athletics (OUA) on October 15. This falls in line with U Sports’ decision to cancel all winter 2021 national championships.
Following the cancellation of the fall 2020 season, the OUA justified the renewed decision to further cancel the winter 2021 season given recently increasing COVID-19 case numbers, stating that “the health of student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, and fans is our number one priority.”
In a recent Instagram post on the Varsity Blues official page, Beth Ali, Executive Director of Athletics & Physical Activity, wrote that U of T will “continue to deliver an engaging experience for [its] student-athletes. We will maintain remote sport-training programs and opportunities for teams to connect online.”
Return-to-train protocols, which are contingent on regional and provincial COVID-19 guidelines, will still be in place at U of T. These protocols are policies like physical distancing, mask-wearing, and more guidelines to re-integrate athletes into team practices safely. As such, student-athletes will still be able to train at campus facilities.
Gord Grace, OUA President and CEO, wrote in the OUA’s statement that “while we would love nothing more than to see our student-athletes back on the field of play and participating in OUA-sanctioned competition during the 2nd Term, we are not yet at a place where that can occur safely.”
In its statement, the OUA Board of Directors have committed to continue monitoring the changes and status of the pandemic, reserving “the right to adjust these decisions on an on-going basis.”