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State mask mandate is keeping one NAIA program from hosting playoff games

The advantage of earning a higher seed in the NAIA tournament is that you get to host games in the friendly confines of your own stadium and with your own fans packing the stands.

That's the case again this year, as seven of the eight higher seeds in the NAIA playoff will host games, but one of those higher seeds that earned a home field advantage is being forced to hit the road.

Due to Michigan's COVID inspired mask mandate that has extended to athletic competitions, Concordia-Ann Arbor has been required to wear masks / face shields during competition all season, just as high schools were required to back in the fall. They opened their season with two home games against Marian (IN) and St. Francis (IN) in back-to-back games where those visiting opponents were required to wear masks.

According to sources we've talked to this week, the NAIA playoff committee decided that the mask requirement in Michigan would be an unfair advantage for Michigan schools in the postseason, and with CUAA being the only Michigan-based NAIA program in the postseason, they decided having them travel Kentucky to face to 12th-seed Georgetown was the best option.

Our understanding is that the ruling from the NAIA was shared without enough time for the program to find a neutral site game in nearby Toledo, OH.

After having their past two April games of their spring season cancelled, the matchup with Georgetown will be their first game since a 61-17 drubbing of NAIA startup Madonna (NAIA - MI) on March 27th.

Concordia-Ann Arbor ended the season at 5-0 and ranked in the top five of the latest NAIA poll, and handed 9-seed Marian (5-1) their only loss of the season in a tight game to open the spring season.

The 316 mile trek from Ann Arbor, MI to Georgetown, KY will take the Cardinals about 5 hours, and the two will face off at 1:30pm EST tomorrow.

Perhaps the most disappointing part of this whole deal is the CUAA senior class have been absolutely dominant at home, going a perfect 18-0 in their time with the program.

Michigan is the first (and only state) in the country to have instituted a once-a-week mandatory testing policy for all student athletes 13 and older as the state has seen a surge in COVID cases. The state recently opened vaccination eligibility to everyone 16 and older.

Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.