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The management council for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference approved institutional autonomy in schedule making for schools that decide to move forward this spring with seasons for sports that were postponed in the fall.

A statement from the GNAC last Friday said the decision in intended “to provide maximum flexibility to the GNAC’s member institutions.”

Whether schools decide to compete in the spring or not, they won’t be doing so for a conference title. “The Council also decided that the conference will not declare regular-season champions or conduct postseason championships in volleyball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer or cross country,” the statement read.

Basically, the conference decided that schools are free to move sports postponed from the fall to spring 2021, but they’ll be on their own in putting together a schedule and there won’t be any postseason honors at stake.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GNAC voted in July to postpone the conference’s fall seasons. The athletic directors of the conference’s football institutions voted in September to not play a conference schedule in that sport during the 2020-21 academic year,” the statement said. “The conference also determined that its leadership councils will meet in mid-February to assess conference scheduling in the sports of baseball and softball and well as evaluate the viability of conference postseason championship events in baseball, softball, golf, outdoor track and field and rowing.”

A corresponding statement from the Nanooks athletics department said that, “Plans for the Alaska Nanooks fall sports (volleyball, cross country running) have not been decided following the cancellation of indoor winter sports (hockey, men’s/women’s basketball), however, the decision to play will be made by UAF upper-administration at a later date.”

The status of that decision doesn’t look to have changed since last week. 

“Upper-administration is in the middle of finding out the possibility of playing,” Nanooks sports information director Nathan Pearsall said Tuesday. “I’d say volleyball will probably be tough to commit to, but I believe cross country running is still in play because of their outdoor status. Similar to Nordic skiing being able to compete.”

Contact staff writer Sam Ferrara at 459-7575.