MWC suspends conference league fall sports

Local News

GALESBURG, Ill. (WMBD) — Institutions of the Midwest Conference (MWC) announced Monday that league competition will be suspended through Dec. 31, joining a majority of NCAA Division III conferences that have suspended fall and winter sports because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Knox College Prairie Fire student-athletes will not compete in conference play in the fall sports listed below:

  • Cross Country (Men’s and Women’s)
  • Football
  • Soccer (Men’s and Women’s)
  • Volleyball
  • Indoor Track and Field (Men’s and Women’s)
  • Swimming and Diving (Men’s and Women’s)
  • Basketball (Men’s and Women’s)

The Prairie Fire Athletics Department (PFAD) is developing programs to provide student-athletes with experience during the fall season. They say these programs could include:

  • Non-conference Competition
  • Practice
  • Small-Group Training
  • Skill Development
  • Life Skills Development
  • Leadership Training
  • Nutrition for Athletes Education and/or Strength and Conditioning (within safety guidelines)

“This is a disappointing day for our student-athletes, but they should not be without hope,” said Knox College Director of Athletics Daniella Irle.

“We will keep moving forward to reimagine their athletics seasons to ensure they have the most robust competitive experience possible this year. There are many options remaining to be explored, and I am confident that our Prairie Fire student-athletes and coaches will continue to adapt and adjust to changing environments. They are a resilient group, and we will continue to navigate the COVID landscape together.”

Irle said in the coming weeks at both the institutional level and the conference level, PFAD will make a decision on winter and spring sports competition calendars, fall sports non-conference competition opportunities for all sports, and the feasibility of fall sports competing in the spring.

MWC Executive Director Heather Benning said the organization did everything they could to compete in the fall but in the end, health concerns remained a clear obstacle.

“Due to the recent sustained surge of cases across the country, and a lack of guaranteed access to timely and reliable testing with the frequency recommended by the NCAA, the Conference does not feel it is in a position to sponsor intercollegiate athletic competition at this time,” Benning said.

Members of the Midwest Conference include Knox College, Beloit College, Cornell College, Grinnell College, Illinois College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Monmouth College, Ripon College, and St. Norbert College.

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