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Calvin University hoping to move forward with fall sports despite MIAA's postponement

Knights planning limited non-conference schedule
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Posted at 11:43 AM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 11:43:13-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — On July 30, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) announced they were going to postpone all fall athletic competitions through January 1.

However, at Calvin University, they are hopeful they can at least get a limited non-conference schedule in for several sports.

"Crazy times, that's the best way to describe it."

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly led to challenges for everybody, including Calvin University Director of Athletics, Dr. Jim Timmer.

"The MIAA voted and the presidents voted that we would postponed fall competitions through January 1," Timmer said.

However, the Knights are hoping to move forward with limited schedules for men and women's soccer, tennis, golf, cross country, and volleyball.

"We're taking all of the advice from our health professionals and the NCAA," Dr. Timmer explained, "we're putting them together to give our students the best possible experience they can have."

The university says they will test their athletes through a third party agency throughout the season. Testing will be based on the risk of the sport, as defined by the NCAA, meaning golf would be tested less than a higher risk sport like soccer.

"I think there's always a pause where we can say, 'look, it's not safe for our student-athletes, our coaches, our fans, whatever the case may be," Timmer added, "we can pull back from that but as of right now, we're going to try."

Calvin women's soccer coach Emily Ottenhoff says the uncertainty from the pandemic has been tough on the student-athletes.

"We watched this whole pandemic evolve since March and there were times where it was like, 'there's no way,'" Ottenhoff said. "there were other times where you felt a bit more hope, but you just don't know."

With most of their conference opponents not playing fall sports at all, the Knights have had to branch out a bit to find teams to play.

"We're trying to stay mainly local," said Timmer, "we don't play a huge schedule anyway, but we've been able to find enough competition to satisfy what we believe is a positive student-athlete experience."

While the plan is to have fall sports for now, the coaches and student-athletes understand it could all be taken away at any time.

"For our women, the biggest thing is just to get back together in a safe manner and be together as a group," Ottenhoff explained about the women's soccer team. "Hopefully, we can play some soccer while we're doing that, I think that would be huge for them."

Right now, the only schedules officially released are for men's and women's golf, which are slated to begin on the weekend of September 11.