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Great Northwest Athletic Conference suspends Fall sports and intercollegiate athletics

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 3:28 PM AKDT
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(GNAC) (Alaska Nanooks)
(GNAC) (Alaska Nanooks)((GNAC) (UAF))

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference announced on July 17 their decision to suspend intercollegiate athletics through November, suspending the Fall season citing health and safety concerns due to COVID-19. The Alaska Nanooks has two sports labelled under the Fall category, with volleyball and cross country having their seasons suspended. The vote was a unanimous decision from the GNAC CEO Board.

“This was not a decision taken lightly but one the Board believes is in the best interests of student-athletes and staff,” said GNAC Commissioner Dave Haglund. “There is no greater priority than the health and well-being of our student-athletes and this action is reflective of the GNAC’s commitment to this prevailing principle. We understand that many student-athletes will be disappointed and saddened by this news, particularly our seniors, and we have profound empathy for everyone affected by this decision, including non-conference opponents. We can only ask for their thoughtful understanding during these challenging and unprecedented times.”

The GNAC is exploring ideas to push Fall sports schedules to the Spring of 2021. One of the people pushing for Fall sports to be pushed to the Spring was the University of Alaska Fairbanks Vice Chancellor and Athletic Director, Keith Champagne.

“I am pleased with the decision. It was a very prudent decision and I like the decision because it keeps at the forefront of our athletic program. The safety, health and overall physical and mental well-being of our student-athletes, our staff and those associated with our department,” said Champagne. “We were very unified on all issues regarding moving from a Fall model to a Spring model of athletic competition.”

The CEO Board will continue to monitor the situation and make their decision regarding GNAC sports after November 30 on October 15. For the Nanooks, that decision will affect men’s and women’s basketball.

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