UAA will play fewer basketball games and volleyball games in the upcoming school year because of competition limits announced Wednesday by the NCAA.
The Division II Presidents Council made the reductions for the 2020-21 seasons in response to financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Many institutions, per feedback from leadership throughout Division II, will not be able to afford the same level of travel,” the NCAA said when announcing the news.
For UAA, reductions will mean the men’s and women’s basketball teams will play about 30% fewer games than last season. Both teams played 31 regular-season games last season; this season, the most they can play prior to the postseason is 22.
The volleyball team will have about 20% fewer regular-season dates than last season — 20 compared to 25. In volleyball, “dates” is used in place of “games,” so when a team plays multiple tournament matches in a single day they count as a single “date.” UAA played 28 matches on 25 dates last season.
Volleyball coach Chris Green said the Seawolves had 23 dates on their original 2020-21 schedule.
“We will likely have to cancel our home tournament,” he said of the early season nonconference tournament UAA usually hosts.
The reductions mean most of UAA’s games next season will be conference games. As members of the 10-team Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the Seawolves play each team in the conference twice per season for a total of 18 games.
That leaves the volleyball team with two openings for nonconference games and gives the basketball teams openings for four nonconference games.
Women’s basketball coach Ryan McCarthy said he’ll need to cancel two games, “but I’m not sure which ones.”
“I’m waiting to see what the protocol will be for canceling games,” he said. “I’m guessing it’s up to the head coaches of each program to try to figure this all out.
“… My biggest concern is that we are able to space these games out evenly to avoid too long of breaks and risk injury.”
Men’s basketball coach Rusty Osborne is a member of a couple of NCAA national committees and said he had an idea the number of allowable games might be reduced.
“So although we had a few verbal agreements, I did not contract our full schedule,” he said. “We hope to have at least two of the four nonconference games at home but it is too early to tell right now.”
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