The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), which Dalton State College’s seven athletics programs compete in, announced Tuesday that national championships in most fall sports would be postponed until spring 2021 due to concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
The decision affects cross country, men's soccer, women's soccer and women's volleyball, with a decision on football to come at a later meeting. Dalton State competes in women’s cross country and men’s and women’s soccer.
The decision doesn’t preclude any of the fall sports programs from competing during the fall, and individual conferences, like the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) that Dalton State belongs to, are still free to hold championships at previously scheduled times.
Dalton State Athletics Director Jon Jaudon said Wednesday morning a decision had not been made on how Dalton State and the SSAC will react to the NAIA's move.
According to the NAIA announcement, 51 of the 251 schools that compete in the NAIA had already postponed fall competition.
"The NAIA realizes there are a wide range of considerations that come with postponing fall championships," NAIA President Jim Carr said in a press release. "However, our first priority is making sure our student-athletes are not penalized by this decision. That will likely require temporary rule changes and accommodations as related to eligibility and seasons of competition, which the NAIA governance groups will begin further defining this week."
The decision comes after the NAIA cancelled all remaining winter and spring sports championships in March over COVID-19 concerns, ending Dalton State basketball’s chance at a national title just after the group earned a top seed in the NAIA National Championship Tournament. Both men’s and women’s Roadrunner golf programs had promising seasons cut short, as both were ranked fifth in the last-published NAIA poll.