The start of Lincoln's fall sports season will be delayed, the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association announced Monday.
According to a press release issued by the MIAA, conference teams will hold off the start of their fall practices until the week of Aug. 31. In addition, the first week of fall sports contests has been pushed back to Sept. 28.
"This plan allows our student-athletes to get back on campus and get acclimated with the student body before we begin practices and fall competition," MIAA commissioner Mike Racy said. "We remain hopeful that the MIAA student-athletes will be able to practice and compete this fall, but we need to be patient and make sure that we are doing that in a healthy and safe environment for our student-athletes, coaches, and administrators."
Fall sports schedules for MIAA teams will now begin with their original schedule starting the week of Sept. 28. The schedules will not be remade.
However, the MIAA COVID-19 Task Force may look into moving any of the missed games if there are open or added dates in the fall, or if the NCAA passes legislation to move back national championship dates.
"This announcement comes after a recommendation from member institutions and was supposed by the CEO Council," the MIAA said in the release. "The Council will continue to monitor this plan and adjust it as necessary to protect the health and safety of all involved in MIAA Athletics."
According to the press release, the plan allows MIAA schools "to continue to monitor the COVID-19 Global Health Pandemic and to make decisions about athletics and other campus activities based on conditions in that community and with guidance from local and state health officials."
Lincoln competes in football, men's and women's golf and women's cross country during the fall sports season.
According to the Lincoln athletics website, only the football schedule has been posted for the Blue Tigers' 2020 fall sports season.
With the MIAA's announcement, the Sept. 12 game at Fort Hays State, the Sept. 19 home opener against Nebraska-Kearney and the Sept. 26 game at Pittsburg State will be postponed indefinitely.
Lincoln's new opening date for the football season will be Oct. 3 against Washburn at Dwight T. Reed Stadium. The following Saturday will be the Blue Tigers' Homecoming game against Central Oklahoma.
"The CEO Council group acknowledges that the ability to execute this plan is dependent on our students, employees and fans demonstrating socially responsible behavior during this public health crisis," the MIAA said in the release. "In addition, it is important that student-athletes continue to practice socially responsible behavior to help protect the health of the team.
"The health and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and communities in the MIAA continues to be the Association's top priority. The MIAA is taking these unprecedented actions to help our campuses and communities continue to address this public health crisis."
The MIAA also announced Monday it will postpone its annual football media day to Wednesday, Aug. 19.
The event had been initially scheduled for next Monday, as a virtual event. The MIAA said it will remain a virtual event next month.
According to the MIAA, fans are still encouraged to participate in the virtual media day by submitting questions for teams, coaches and student-athletes on social media.
The schedule for the football media day will be announced at a later date. Fans can watch the virtual event live on the MIAA Network.