By Yoos, Cam on May 13, 2020.
University of Lethbridge athletic teams will be competing in a revamped Canada West conference amid COVID-19 concerns when play begins this fall.
The revised formats were approved by the Canada West Board of Directors, following more than a month of work by the conference Sport Committee and Board. The new formats will feature fewer games and less travel in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in significant disruptions to member finances.
The revised formats will also allow for competition to occur in a condensed period of time should COVID-19 restrictions limit, but not eliminate the amount of time available to complete the 2020-21 season.
“While there remains uncertainty around when university sport will return, the CW Board of Directors has worked diligently to ensure that when it does the conference and our members are prepared to navigate the difficult financial realities ahead of us,” said CW President Clint Hamilton.
“The revised sport formats reflect the financial constraints our members will find themselves in as both a direct and indirect result of COVID-19. We remain hopeful that we will be able to compete during the 2020-21 season and deliver an excellent university sport experience for our student-athletes.”
In fall sports, 13 men’s soccer teams will be split into two divisions – Pacific and Prairie – and each play 10 games.
In women’s soccer, the 16 teams will compete in three divisions – B.C., Alberta, and Sask./Man. – and play 10 games.
In women’s rugby, the five teams will play a round-robin schedule.
The Pronghorn basketball teams, playing in 17-team conferences, will each play 16 games. There are three divisions, including B.C. (seven teams), Alberta (five teams), and Sask./Man. (five teams). The Pronghorns will play four games against each of their Alberta division opponents.
Ultimately a determination on Canada West’s 2020-21 season will be contingent on clearance from health authorities in all four Western provinces, member universities permitting sport competition, and the availability of venues suitable for Canada West competition.
All conference championship sports will proceed during the 2020-21 season, with championships planned in: cross country, curling, golf, swimming, track & field, and wrestling.