Atlantic University Sport, AUS for short, is an association for universities in Atlantic Canada (The provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador). There are 11 schools in the Atlantic University Sport they are: Acadia University, Cape Breton University, Dalhousie University, Memorial University, Mount Allison Univeristy, Université de Montcon, University of New Brunswick, University of Prince Edward Island, Saint Mary’s University, StFX University and St. Thomas. Bishop’s University is only in the AUS for football.
The Atlantic University Sport cancelled all fall sports back in June. Details and the severity of Covid-19 in Canada have changed for the better in recent days, the Atlantic University Sport should act accordingly and continue with fall sports.
The Covid-19 Situation
For simplicity’s sake we will not be including Quebec or Bishop’s University when talk about fall sports as a whole since they are only in the Atlantic University Sport for football and do not effect any other sports directly. Should the situation in Quebec get worse to where Quebec cancels fall sports, only Bishop’s University would be impacted. In the 4 provinces that make up Atlantic Canada there are a combined 10 active cases of Covid-19 as of August 12th 2020. There is approximately 100,000 active cases in Ohio, the Big 10 only recently shut down their season. The Canadian Government has done a phenomenal job handling Covid-19. These USports athletes deserve the chance to compete in what could be their final season ever as an athlete. There is an Atlantic Travel Bubble that has been created by the government. There is clear confidence within the Government about travel between these Atlantic Provinces being safe, so what’s holding up the AUS from having fall sports?
Frustration With Decisions
I’ve had the privilege to meet and talk to Cayne Lander, a defensive tackle at the USports level who plays in the AUS. He had this to say on a decision being made so early on fall sports:
It’s frustrating because USports does all this talk about how they want to be as close to the NCAA as possible, and the NCAA just made their decision on one conference today (August 10th 2020).
I absolutely agree with this. I understand being proactive, but when only a single conference in the NCAA got cancelled less than a month before the events of College Football would begin I think cancelling all fall sports in June is too early. The government clearly has confidence in travel given the fact that the Atlantic Bubble exists, Cayne Lander agrees as well:
Clearly the governments are confident enough to open the Atlantic bubble, so why isn’t the AUS willing to put on a season?
When you consider that Canada has handled the Covid-19 pandemic in a much better fashion than America has, the cancellation should be reversed.
While it is one thing to simply bash the Atlantic University Sport about their decision, it’s another to have a proposal. During my conversation with Cayne Lander, he thought of a proposal and I love it. This is Cayne Lander’s proposal:
Bishop’s University wouldn’t have been in our league this year regardless, meaning that training camp would have started two weeks later anyway. Everybody would show up at the same time that we usually do. We (Teams in the AUS) would use those extra two weeks to quarantine in one of the residences on campus. Upon entering the residence, testing will be mandatory. People who have the virus will need to be separated from everyone else until they recover. Since there’s virtually no risk of catching the virus from within Atlantic Canada, and the risk from outside is minimized by the mandatory quarantine, it’d be an extremely safe situation. As a result of the low amount of active cases in the Atlantic Bubble, testing would still be mandatory but not to the extent of testing everyone daily. If people come into contact with someone who has been known to have the virus then they need to be quarantined and tested. Since each school will have it’s own bubble, once everyone passes with at least 2 negative tests, testing may not be required until travelling begins.
Overall, the Atlantic University Sport needs to change their mind and play fall sports. With 10 active cases over 4 provinces, depriving these student athletes of a major piece of their identity does not make sense. There’s an Atlantic Bubble in place, an AUS athlete has a proposal for football that can be transitioned to all other fall sports. If the NCAA still wants to have college football, there is no reason why the AUS should cancel all college sports.