There will most likely be no Panda Game in 2020. Photo: Parker Townes/Fulcrum
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Fourteen U of O teams and clubs affected by OUA decision

The Ontario University Athletics has announced that it has cancelled all OUA sanctioned programming for the rest of 2020 cancelling the seasons of a number of Gee-Gees varsity teams and competitive clubs in the process.  

“Unprecedented times require unprecedented action, which is what led us to this difficult decision,” said Dr. Mike DeGagné, Chair of the OUA Board of Directors in a press release on Monday. “The health of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, and fans is our number one priority, and after significant consultation, we believe that OUA sport cannot be delivered prior to December 31st.”

With many of the U of O sports programs playing in the OUA, this means that the season of 14 Gee-Gees programs is either cancelled or put on hold until Jan.1, 2021. Three of the U of O’s most accomplished varsity teams seasons are cancelled as the football, cross country and women’s soccer teams will not hit the field in the fall of 2020. Varsity and competitive clubs who’s seasons are completely cancelled include the baseball team, the women’s golf team, men’s golf team, and the rowing team. 

A number of teams seasons are also on hold due to the OUA decision. The men’s hockey team, the women’s and men’s basketball teams, and the track & field teams seasons are all on hold and they will most likely compete in a shortened season starting in January.

“There are scenarios about shortened seasons starting this season and there have been talks of spring seasons these are subjects that have been brought up,” said Sue Hylland Director of Varsity Athletics at the University of Ottawa. “ We will push as much as we can to get athletes on the field and training”

The clubs who’ve season is now delayed include Badminton, Fencing, Nordic Skiing, and Men’s Water Polo.

U Sport the overarching organization responsible for university sports in Canada and the directing organization for both the OUA and Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec announced on Monday morning that it had cancelled the national championships of nine fall sports including men’s and women’s cross country running, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s rugby and football. 

RSEQ, however, has not made a formal announcement cancelling their fall 2020 programming meaning sports such as women’s hockey, swimming, women’s rugby, and women’s volleyball could still all potentially play a full season.

Sue Hylland was asked about potential layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and cancellation of all 2020 OUA programming.

“Nobody’s naive to think there couldn’t be something coming down the way but really that part of the conversation in terms of layoffs and temporary layoffs but there has not been any major conversation (about that),” Hylland said to media on Monday afternoon “we will save money by not having seasons in the OUA in the fall.”

The University of Ottawa is projecting a $65.5 million loss in revenue and expenditures in its latest budget and will not be collecting a varsity athletics ancillary fee for the fall semester meaning Varisty Athletics may have to dive deep in their pockets to keep a full staff.  

Unless they can organize an exhibition game with Carleton the Panda Game is most likely cancelled for 2020 which will be another big economic blow for Varsity Athletics.

Athletes should be allowed to use some of the athletic facilities offered by the U of O such as Matt Anthony and Gee-Gees field for individual and small group workouts.