Pride teams poised to pounce as conference approves the return of college athletics

Pride athletic teams are poised to resume competition in January.

The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors approved an abbreviated winter and spring competition calendar on Nov. 10. The conference had suspended fall sports over concerns about COVID-19.

Spring competition still may be affected by evolving COVID-19 testing requirements, travel restrictions and venue protocols being finalized by GLIAC. 

“The health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff, fans and the community are the highest priority of GLIAC and Purdue Northwest,” said Chancellor Thomas Keon. “We look forward to a safe return to competition following the GLIAC protocols.”

Starting first, the women’s and men’s basketball teams will resume conference play on Jan. 7. The university is still determining whether it will hold non-conference games in December. The men’s ice hockey schedule is being developed and will be released in coming weeks.

Anticipating a return to conference play, Pride athletes have been working out in small groups through the competition blackout.

“I am excited for the student-athletes to have the opportunity to compete,” said Athletic Director Rick Costello. “The Pride student-athletes have worked extremely hard in their small pod skill sessions and strength training workouts. I applaud the student-athletes’ determination and resiliency throughout the pandemic.”

Costello and university athletic trainers have spent months working with their counterparts in GLIAC and the conference’s COVID-19 Task Force to develop safe competition protocols and several schedule revisions. 

The conference is establishing consistent COVID-19 testing, safe training, travel, hosting and in-game protocols among its 12 members. Presidents and chancellors will make a final decision on testing requirements in coming weeks. 

Meanwhile, the conference announced plans to allow fall sports to compete in the spring semester. Women’s volleyball will start play on Feb. 19 and the soccer teams will begin play on March 19. 

The fall 2020 women’s tennis season will be played in the spring in conjunction with the men’s season. 

Women’s and men’s cross-country teams will be able to compete at GLIAC track and field events.

These fall sports will have a reduced conference-only regular season, followed by a conference tournament.

The decision to resume athletic competition came the same week the Ivy League cancelled its winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball.