May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Concordia University officials eye return of athletics, but waiting for more direction

Concordia swimmer Emily Kivisto was named the 2020 Eagle Award winner. (Photo courtesy CUI Athletics/Minh Dang)

Officials at Concordia University in Irvine are monitoring the coronavirus pandemic and waiting word from the NCAA and Pac-West Conference officials before determining when to start fall sports.

Students are scheduled to resume classes in August, but there is no date set for the start of fall sports.

Interim athletic director Crystal Rosenthal issued a statement to Concordia supporters on Thursday addressing the mater which officials shared with OC Sports Zone:

“The athletics department of Concordia University Irvine has been tracking the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic since the cancellation of the 2020 spring NCAA season. The situation remains fluid as we await word from both the NCAA and the state of California; however, our institution is working hard to open our campus for our fall semester, leading with our students’ safety at the forefront.  In conjunction with our institutional task force, our athletics department is working on guidelines on how to bring students back to campus safely while providing the best student experience possible. 
 
“With the recent announcement by the California State University Chancellor and the CCAA, which is the largest D2 conference in our region, we felt it was imperative to communicate to our current and prospective student-athletes and their families that our plans have not changed. We anticipate further decisions and direction regarding PacWest Conference play in the next week and will communicate with you further at that time.
 
“Alongside the PacWest Conference, CUI Athletics is working diligently to prepare our campus and our coaches to be ready for the return of athletics.  We remain hopeful that the NCAA moves forward with the fall seasons, and as things continue to develop, Concordia University Irvine Athletics will be ready to resume play.  We remain committed to providing a safe environment while minimizing any health risks.

“We believe wholeheartedly in a holistic approach to higher education and the tremendous value our student-athletes gain in the athletic component of their experience.  We are confident in God’s plan through this unprecedented time and will continue to pray for the health and well-being for all.  We look forward to the day we can return to the fields, courts, decks and lanes and continue to watch our Eagles display their God-given gifts as they represent Concordia University Irvine Athletics.”

Also Thursday, university president Dr. Michael Thomas indicated officials were preparing for students returning to school in August under some conditions.

“While we all would like to express certainty, we do not know what the public health status of our community or state will be in August,” he said in the statement. “However, we are optimistic that we will be able to safely open the campus in accordance with state and local guidelines, allowing us to have students return to campus with modifications in place for in-person courses.

“Our planning is focused on an on-time opening of the fall semester on August 17. Housing is planning phased move-in dates over a four-day period, rather than the typical two-day period to reduce campus traffic and better maintain physical distancing during move-in. Freshmen will arrive first for student orientation, activities, and registration and returning students will arrive later. Some student leaders and student groups may be allowed to return sooner for leadership training and preparation. Housing will reach out to students with dates and times for move-in.”

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com