The 2020 NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships, which were scheduled to be held in Oak Ridge in May, have been canceled because of COVID-19, and other collegiate regattas have been canceled as well.
Oak Ridge officials and others have been looking forward to the NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships since it was announced three years ago. The Oak Ridge rowing venue is considered one of the best in the country.
In a March 12 notice, the NCAA said all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships were being canceled due to COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. Also canceled were the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, which includes March Madness.
The cancellations affecting Oak Ridge include the NCAA division I, II, and III Women’s Rowing Championships, Big 10 Invitational Regatta, Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championship, as well as other regattas slated to be held in conjunction with the Oak Ridge Rowing Association.
“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” the NCAA said.
In its press release, the city said the Oak Ridge Rowing Association is working tirelessly in an effort to bring these events back to the city next year, while ensuring that ORRA will stay open for Atomic Athletes and spring training teams. Some training camps will be offered in the coming months to offset rowing activities, the press release said.
“We are very supportive and understanding of the NCAA’s situation, but wanted them to know how important their championships are to Oak Ridge,” Mayor Warren Gooch said in the press release. “We hope to welcome the NCAA and all rowing groups back to the ‘flatwater’ of the Clinch River in the very near future. They are an important part of our communities.”