MIAC Announces Plans for Spring Competition

Posted on March 3rd, 2021 by

Release courtesy of the MIAC

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Presidents’ Council approved plans to move forward with spring and postponed fall sports competition. Teams may officially begin competing again as early as March 5.

MIAC membership – including the MIAC Presidents’ Council, Athletic Directors’ Council, Athletic Trainers, and COVID-19 Working Group – has worked diligently over the past several months to establish guidelines for spring and fall sports. The MIAC is planning for a full spring-sport season, including conference championships for baseball, softball, tennis, golf, and outdoor track and field. For postponed fall sports competing in the spring, soccer and volleyball will participate in a condensed schedule, while cross country and football teams will have the autonomy to schedule up to four contests as each institution sees fit. There will not be conference championships for fall sports this spring. MIAC institutions retain the ultimate authority over whether or not to participate in intercollegiate athletics or MIAC schedules this spring.

Based on current Minnesota Department of Health guidelines, MIAC fall and spring sport teams will wear protective face coverings during all practices and competitions this spring. This rule will also apply to any non-conference opponents traveling to a MIAC institution. MIAC teams traveling out of state will adhere to local, state, and host protocol. Conference masking policies will be assessed as the season progresses while working with MDH. The MIAC will follow NCAA testing standards for fall and spring sports according to the NCAA designated risk per sport and details contained in the NCAA Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Developing Standards for Practice and Competition, Second Edition.

Once competition is able to move outdoors, each MIAC institution will create its own policy regarding spectator attendance, in accordance with Minnesota Department of Health and campus protocol. No spectators are permitted when a contest is conducted at an on-campus indoor facility (including domes). When a contest is conducted at an off-campus indoor facility and a MIAC team is designated as the host, spectators are limited to remaining outside of the playing area, contingent upon the facility and campus spectator policies.

Spring Sports
Baseball
The MIAC baseball season will begin an expanded 12-round conference season on Friday, April 2 with mid-week and Saturday play dates set for doubleheaders and Sunday play dates designated for single nine-inning games. Teams may begin competing in non-conference contests as early as March 5. Conference make-up games will be allowed only within each scheduled round. The 2021 MIAC Baseball Playoffs will move back one week to May 19-22, in accordance with the NCAA Tournament shifting back one week as well. The team with the best conference winning percentage that has played at least 51 percent of its scheduled conference games after Round 11 of the regular season will be named conference champion and receive the No. 1 seed in the MIAC Playoffs. The 2021 MIAC Baseball schedule will be published here in the coming days.

Teams ranked 2-11 in the conference standings after Round 11 will compete in a best-of-three series during Round 12 to feed into the MIAC Tournament. The team ranked No. 2 in the standings by straight winning percentage will play the team ranked No. 11, No. 3 will play No. 10, etc., with the low seed (ex: No. 11) hosting a 9-inning game on Saturday, May 15 and the high seed (ex: No. 2) hosting two 9-inning games on Sunday, May 16. All three games of the series will be played. Teams that win the Round 12 three-game series will retain their regular season seeding position and advance to the MIAC Playoffs, which will be expanded to include six teams this season.

The first round of the conference tournament will follow a single-elimination “play-in” format followed by the traditional four-team double-elimination format over the final three days of playoff competition. The top two seeds in the tournament will automatically advance to the four-team double-elimination format. In the play-in round, No. 3 will host No. 6 and No. 4 will host No. 5. The location and host for the four-team double-elimination portion is yet to be determined.

Softball
The MIAC softball season is scheduled to begin as planned with conference doubleheaders scheduled to start on Saturday, April 3. The 2021 MIAC Softball Playoffs will move back one week to May 13-16, in accordance with the NCAA Tournament shifting back one week as well. The MIAC Softball Playoffs will include six teams this season. The first round of the conference tournament will follow a single-elimination “play-in” format followed by the traditional four-team double-elimination format over the final three days of playoff competition. The top two seeds in the tournament will automatically advance to the four-team double-elimination format. In the play-in round, No. 3 will host No. 6 and No. 4 will host No. 5. The double-elimination round will be played on the home field of the highest seed that accepts hosting rights. The 2021 MIAC Softball schedule will be published here in the coming days.

Tennis
The MIAC Men’s and Women’s Tennis Seasons are set to run from March 5 through May 2. Matches will be scheduled at the discretion of each participating institution. The five-team MIAC Men’s Tennis Playoffs will take place May 4, 6, and 8, while the six-team MIAC Women’s Tennis Playoffs are set for May 5, 7, and 8. The high seed will host each postseason match. The 2021 MIAC Men’s and Women’s Tennis schedules will be published in the coming days.

Golf
MIAC Men’s and Women’s Golf teams will return to competition for the first time since the fall of 2019. The 2020-21 MIAC Golf Championships will be hosted April 30-May 2 at Emerald Greens in Hastings, Minn. The 2021 MIAC Men’s and Women’s Golf schedules will be published as tournaments are announced.

Outdoor Track and Field
MIAC Men’s and Women’s Track & Field teams will transition outdoors as soon as Minnesota weather allows for it. The MIAC Multi-Event Championships are set to take place on May 7-8, while the full Outdoor Track & Field Conference Championships will take place the following weekend on May 14-15. Hosts for these events are yet to be determined. The 2021 MIAC Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field schedules will be published as meets are announced.

Fall Sports
Cross Country
Competition for MIAC Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams may begin March 5 and continue through May 15. Scheduling is at the discretion of each institution, with teams allotted a maximum of four dates of competition this spring. All teams in competition must follow NCAA health and safety standards regarding testing of student-athletes and coaches and wear a mask during competition in order for a MIAC team to participate. There will not be a MIAC Cross Country Championship meet this spring. Men’s and Women’s Spring Cross Country schedules will be updated as meets are announced.

Football
MIAC Football teams may schedule contests at the discretion of each participating institution between the dates of March 5 and May 15. There will be no conference schedule for football this spring and no conference champion will be crowned. MIAC Football teams are permitted a maximum of four competitions, including scrimmages, exhibitions, and games. Spring Football schedules will be updated here as games are announced.

Soccer
The MIAC Men’s and Women’s spring Soccer schedules will begin March 5 and run through May 15. Teams are permitted a maximum of eight contests with Men’s Soccer teams playing five conference games and Women’s Soccer Teams playing six conference games. Conference games are set to begin on April 6 for women’s teams and April 8 for men’s teams. A program may opt out of the full conference schedule. If any team opts out, the opponents may elect to secure replacement contests. There will be no conference champion or playoffs in soccer this spring. The 2021 MIAC Men’s and Women’s Spring Soccer schedules will be published by mid-March.

Volleyball
The MIAC spring Volleyball schedule will begin March 5 and run through May 15. Teams are permitted a maximum of nine dates of competition. The six-match conference slate is set to begin on March 31 and will continue each Wednesday night through May 5. A program may opt out of the full conference schedule. If any team opts out, the opponents may elect to secure replacement contest(s). There will be no conference champion or playoffs in volleyball this spring. The 2021 MIAC Spring Volleyball schedule will be published here by mid-March.

Winter Sports
MIAC membership also adjusted the framework of winter sports as a result of numerous game postponements and the cancellation of NCAA winter championships. The MIAC will not recognize a regular season conference champion in basketball or hockey this winter and will instead allow institutions the autonomy to continue to compete beyond March 6 (basketball) and March 13 (hockey). The flexibility will also afford additional MIAC programs the opportunity to compete in some fashion later in the month. Consistent with fall-sport planning, the conference will not issue postseason awards for winter sports.

Per the NCAA Division III blanket waiver issued last October, student-athletes may compete up to the established dates of competition maximums without being charged a season of intercollegiate participation during the 2020-21 academic year. All MIAC programs in the competition segment will follow the safety guidelines recommended by the NCAA Medical Advisory Board and Minnesota Department of Health. A summary of the MIAC COVID-19 Competition Plan – which includes specific details regarding resocialization, conference protocols, and competition expectations – can be found here.

The MIAC will continue to monitor changing circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic and membership will assess and adjust policies as needed throughout the spring.

 

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