Frazier provides information behind canceling sports, gives plan moving forward

Men's basketball huddles up during NIU's 57-54 win over Kent State University on Feb. 7 at the Convocation Center.

DeKALB — In a letter addressed to everyone in Huskie Nation Wednesday, Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Sean T. Frazier laid out the timeline for the cancellation of winter championships and the entire spring sports season, while also providing information on moving forward.

In a time he called “one of the most tumultuous and stunning 48 hours in my professional career,” Frazier outlined the decision making that led to the cancellation of last week’s Mid-American Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. 

As the dominos continued to fall throughout the sports world, Frazier also explained the decision to cancel all spring sports, as well as in-person recruiting, citing the health and safety of everyone involved and the challenges of having the league’s campuses being in various states of closure. 

Ultimately, those decisions were felt on a national scale as the NCAA made its own decision to cancel the NCAA basketball championships, and all spring championships as well.

Frazier said that in addition to men’s basketball, the gymnastics team was unable to defend its conference championship, four wrestlers lost the chance to compete at the NCAA Championships and seven spring sports — many of which were competing out-of-state when the decisions were made — saw their seasons end. That impacted 126 student-athletes, including 32 seniors.

“Throughout this time of uncertainty, our first priority has been the health and safety of our Huskie student-athletes,” Frazier wrote. “When they arrive on campus at NIU, their families turn them over to us and they become a part of our Huskie family. That has not and will not change, whether they are in DeKalb with us, practicing or competing, back home or in another location.”

Frazier emphasized the commitment of the athletic staff as it continues supporting the mental and physical health of athletes. He also said that NIU Athletics will continue assisting its athletes academically as classes move away from face-to-face meetings

“We are doing this while following the recommendations of the federal, state and local health experts, as well as our own university guidelines,” Frazier wrote about helping students academically. 

In a couple of housekeeping items, Frazier said the open spring football practice scheduled for April 11 has been canceled, as well as the Victor E. Bash in May. Season ticket renewals have also been extended to May 15.

Since many seniors were denied the chance to participate in their various sports’ senior recognition activities, the athletic department will honor them on social media beginning next week, the email said.

Any other questions about future athletic department timelines can be answered via email at huskieathleticfund@niu.edu or by phone at 815-753-1923.

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