University president Mohamed Lachemi said on-campus practices will continue for Ryerson Rams teams this year
Ryerson plans to continue accommodating practice spaces for its varsity teams despite the cancellations of all Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference games and U SPORTS winter national championships due to COVID-19, according to university president Mohamed Lachemi.
“Pending no further restrictions, Ryerson Athletics plans on making space for our student
athletes to practise on a go-forward basis,” Lachemi said in an email on Monday.
Lachemi said the university is following “the direction of Toronto Public Health Services” to ensure all facilities and individuals entering these areas are safe and adhering to public health protocols.
Earlier this month, Lachemi said access to on-campus practice facilities is an experience the university hopes to offer to student-athletes despite the lack of games being played this year in Ryerson’s OUA conference.
While accessibility to the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) and other supporting facilities will remain available, Lachemi said there are no expectations for student-athletes or teams to practice. Teams and athletes can choose whether they feel it is appropriate and safe to continue their practices, which occur at least three times a week according to the Ryerson Athletics website.
Despite having national championships and OUA games cancelled until March 31, Lachemi said the athletic directors from all Ontario universities are having online meetings on a bi-weekly basis to discuss proposals for teams to safely return to play. The conversations on the future of OUA and other U SPORTS conferences post-March 31 are still in their preliminary stages, according to Lachemi.
U SPORTS winter national championships were cancelled on Oct.15 when their board of directors and the four conferences deemed it unsafe for athletes to travel and for universities to host games during the pandemic. This follows the decision in June to cancel all U SPORTS fall national championships.
The Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference and Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) have not announced official cancellations and are reportedly attempting to host games within their respective conferences.
U SPORTS’ frequently asked questions page states that conferences are permitted to host their own conference championships during the pandemic. OUA and Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CW) officially cancelled their seasons on Oct.15.
At least three conferences are required to host national championships, according to the U SPORTS official statement on the winter cancellations.
The eligibility years for student-athletes in the conferences cancelling their games will not be affected this season.
The affected sports listed on the U SPORTS website include hockey, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, swimming, and track and field.