Halifax (NS), June 23, 2021 - Following consultation among athletic directors and a decision by the presidents of its member institutions, the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) will be returning to full competition for the 2021-22 season. The 2021-22 schedules for each varsity sport have been approved and will be announced shortly. The training camps for fall sports are scheduled to begin conference wide on August 27.
One year ago, the ACAA cancelled fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic and made the same decision for winter sports in October. During the academic year, there was some training and practices on campuses for many teams, and later in the year, as the pandemic situation improved and operational plans for players and facilities were developed, there was exhibition play for winter sports.
Provinces in the region are implementing staged easing of restrictions. Universities and colleges have started to announce academic plans for September which include a significant portion of in-person classes and on-campus activities. In a conference call earlier this week, the presidents of the ACAA institutions supported the competition plan proposed by the athletic directors. The ACAA's Return to Play Plan will continue to be in operation as it provides guidance for participants, facilities, and travel. The plan enacts conference-wide health and safety policies for participating student-athletes which align with the public health policies in each province and on each campus.
“As our student-athletes return to competition, our priority remains safety and health. We share in the optimism about returning to more normal campus operations, and we will continue to take a measured approach to student-athlete safety and health and follow all current public health directives,” said William Lahey, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of King's College, who chaired the meeting of the presidents.
Michael Eagles, Athletic Director at St. Thomas University and President of the ACAA, said that the athletic directors in the conference had completed significant preparation work in developing competition plans to prepare for this opportunity to compete again.
“We were very pleased to hear the support from the ACAA President's for our return to play and competition this fall — this is fantastic news for the student-athletes and coaches, and is another positive step towards a return to normal life for our institutions,” he added.
Dawn Russell, President and Vice-Chancellor of St. Thomas University said that the many positive contributions varsity sports bring to campuses will be a welcome return.
“Just as we continue to see positive signs for a return to a more traditional campus experience in teaching and student life, we see the same signs in athletics and for our student-athletes. After such a prolonged absence, we look forward to having students, faculty, and staff together again on our campus, and varsity athletics will again be an important part of what we offer students,” Russell said.
“This announcement is welcome news for all the ACAA student-athletes, coaches, and their supporters,” said Dr. Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald, President, Holland College. “We were always optimistic about finding a path back to competition, and we are ready to show the many positive contributions that students-athletes make to their respective schools and communities.”
The Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association is made up of ten member schools from across the Maritimes provinces, with five schools coming from New Brunswick – Crandall, Mount Allison, St. Thomas, UNB Saint John and UNB Fredericton; four schools from Nova Scotia – Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, Mount Saint Vincent, Université Sainte-Anne and University of King's College; and one from Prince Edward Island – Holland College.
The ACAA Return to Play Committee was chaired by Pierre Arsenault, Mount Allison University and included June Lumsden, Mount Saint Vincent University, Albert Roche, Holland College, and Ron O'Flaherty, ACAA Executive Director.
Media inquiries may be directed to:
Michael Eagles, ACAA President