The Intercollegiate Rowing Association Stewards, by unanimous vote Wednesday, March 10 at their monthly meeting, approved moving forward with plans for the 2021 IRA Championships, now scheduled for May 28 and 29, 2021 on Lake Mercer, in West Windsor New Jersey. The vote will be recertified next Wednesday, March 24, 2021 contingent upon further encouraging news regarding progress in the fight against Covid-19.
Schools will receive entry packets early next week, with a final due date of Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 12:00 pm EDT. A threshold of 20 schools entering the heavyweight events must be met, for the regatta to proceed.
The Stewards approved consolidating the regatta from a three-day to a two-day event, to reduce the time spent on site. The schedule includes a time trial for all the heavyweight events Friday morning, followed by semifinals Friday afternoon and finals Saturday morning. The time trial has been implemented for this year only as a way of giving all participating crews the fairest chance possible to progress through the rounds of racing, in a year when the paucity of out of region racing makes accurate seeding impossible. Plans for the lightweight events are ongoing, dependent upon the number of entries.
Increased health and safety protocols, already in practice for varsity sports across the country, including regular testing in the run up to the championships, testing prior to travel to site, and testing upon arrival will be employed. Additionally, teams will be restricted to their hotel rooms and the regatta site, and will be sequestered from contact with anyone outside the Championship Bubble for the duration of the event.
Local Regatta Organizers and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association have determined that the Championships will be run without spectators, without Alumni and Spectator Tent Row, and without the customary Big Screen in the finish line area. The Association will be providing wire to wire Internet Broadcast coverage of the event on both Friday and Saturday race days.
Given the volatility of the Covid-19 virus and its variants, the Stewards and Professional Association Staff are cognizant the conditions can/have and may change rapidly. They remain committed to providing the student athletes of the member schools an end of season championship opportunity unless events beyond their control force a return to earlier covid related restrictions.