Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Wednesday 13 January 2021.

We regret to say that the 2020-21 League and Knockout season has been cancelled. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and the unpredictable nature of nationwide lockdowns and restrictions, it is not possible for the competition to go ahead in a safe environment. We still intend to run an Outdoor Cricket league in Term 3. We will continue to prioritise student safety, demand and viability to guide our decision making.

No individual events will happen before March. However, these events are only postponed - we are hopeful that these will take place later in the year. More information on each event is available on the individual sport pages (including our Equestrian programme). Our aim is to remain flexible and react to the changing situation as quickly as possible. 

Whilst physical sport is unable to take place for the next few months, we continue to provide virtual activity and other engaging opportunities. The launch of Challenges on the BUCS Play app enables healthy competition between individuals, teams and universities, and more Challenges will be released over the next few months. 

Over the last few months, we did all we could to try and make sport happen. We very much recognise the importance of sport, and the part it plays in the physical and mental wellbeing of students, especially at the moment. 

This news of the League and Knockout competition cancellation will be disappointing for many, especially those in their final year, who won’t have the opportunity to play final matches with the teams that have become a second family over their time at university. However, whilst our overarching goal is to deliver the best student sport experience, to put competition on during this time would risk player welfare and safety, and that is not a chance we are willing to take. 

If you have any further concerns or comments, please contact us here. 


Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Thursday 10 December

Provisional Leagues Document (Version 3)

Following feedback from individual playing conferences, along with updated guidance from devolved administrations and NGBs, we have updated our Provisional Leagues for 2020-21. This update encompasses any late entries or withdrawals to the programme since Friday 20 November, as well as changes to collision sports, hockey premier leagues and the western conference.

After our previous announcement on Friday 27 November relating to the delayed start to the season for American Football, Rugby League and Rugby Union, we have reduced the maximum league size to ensure all fixtures are completed within the Term Two Extraordinary Season fixture window. Please pay close attention to these programmes, as the league structures and placement of teams may have altered since version 2 of the Provisional Leagues.

The premier leagues for Men’s and ICG Women’s Hockey have also been divided into regionalised A & B leagues. This action has been taken as the original nine team leagues would have been unable to complete all league fixtures before the deadline.

Significant challenges were raised by the western conference in regards to cross border travel during the 2020-21 season. After consultation with the region, the Competitions Team have adjusted the leagues in a number of sports to minimise cross border travel wherever possible.


Appendix 2a (Version 2)

The updated version of Appendix 2a includes changes made to the start of the season, as well as the removal of several knockout structures. All leagues within the programme have had their start dates pushed back until at least Wednesday 17 February. The earliest date collision sports will be scheduled to begin is Wednesday 24 February. American Football, Rugby League and Rugby Union have also had their knockout dates removed from the document.

All other Championship knockouts have been retained at the present time, and will be updated in due course in line with the below update.


Championship Knockout Information

We have collated all feedback received from 2020-21 knockout eligible teams regarding delivering a knockout competition this season. While no sport received unanimous backing either for a knockout or not, a marginal majority of responses indicated that delivering the knockout competition is not desirable; however this majority varied sport to sport.

With the fast-changing nature of regulations and guidance that we have seen throughout the pandemic, along with the lack of overwhelming feedback for either option, the prudent course of action seems to be a delay in making a final decision on what we deliver post-league.

This allows the possibility of a clearer picture to develop. It also provides further time for the Executive to consider what alternatives might be offered, for those that wish/are able to, if a traditional post-league knockout competition is not desirable or viable. In conjunction with the University of Nottingham, the host for Big Wednesday 2021, we will make a decision by Monday 25 January. This may require further consultation on non-traditional alternatives in early January.

General Term Two Extraordinary Season League and Knockout Information

As per communications sent to the membership on Friday 27 November all league fixtures will be published on BUCS Play on Friday 15 January. Alongside the publication of the fixtures, the rules and regulations will also be live on the Rules and Regulations page. 


Term One Activity

Term One activity was originally slated to allow fixtures up to and including Wednesday 18 December. Having reviewed each sport community, no fixtures have been registered as completed - i.e. results entered or team sheets submitted. Therefore, to allow for cleaner navigation of fixtures on BUCS Play and the expectation that no fixtures will take place prior to the Term Two Extraordinary Season, we will be removing Term One leagues from BUCS Play along with all associated fixtures. This process will be completed on/by Friday 11 December.

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Tuesday 8 December

This communication is to brief members as to how the latest governmental guidance, across the four Home Nations, relating to sport and physical activity impacts on BUCS delivery.

BUCS General

Our intention is to continue to look to deliver Term 2 competition and events within Covid secure environments, as ensuring student safety remains our priority. All planning will align to NGB guidelines and take account all Home Nation restrictions, including any imposed tiering systems. This may have an impact on the scale and nature of delivery, but we will endeavour to keep members updated on our intended planning as it develops. Therefore, at this point there are no immediate plans to halt the current planning for either the league and knockout programme or events programme as previously shared.

We will continue to lobby via a variety of political channels to ensure that the wellbeing of students is seen in as broad a landscape as possible.

England Specific

Current guidance across England is as follows:

  • There is no exemption for HE for sport (indoor or outdoor)
  • Curriculum sport (where sporting activity is necessary as a part of a taught programme) is exempt from the guidelines
  • Outdoor sport is permissible within NGB guidelines and local tier restrictions
  • Indoor sport is ONLY permissible within strict tier guidelines
  • Students remaining at University can use the university gyms and swimming pools providing this is permissible under local tier restrictions.

Scotland Specific

We understand from SSS colleagues that Directors and Heads of Sport in Scotland receive information directly from Sport Scotland.

Below is a summary of the guidance distributed to Universities by Sport Scotland on Thursday 26 November:

“Organised sporting activities can be undertaken, providing all activity is consistent with current Scottish Government guidance on health, physical distancing and hygiene – you will also need to make sure that your club, facility and participants are made aware and can adapt to changes in guidance at short notice.

SGBs, clubs and participants should be aware of their local area protection level and associated restrictions which may be in place and should consider this as part of risk assessment planning. Broad guidance for sporting activity which should be followed within each Level is set out in Table A.

More detailed information relating to Level 4 restrictions and exemptions applicable for sport and physical activity is available at Appendix 1.“

Wales Specific

Further restrictions have been put in place across Wales which have prevented the on-going return to play pathways. Significant emphasis is put on the governing bodies, highlighted in this information from the Sport Wales website:

“The Welsh Government guidance on returning to sport emphasises NGBs (National Governing Bodies) as key decision makers. NGBs should determine when and how sport and activities can restart safely, in line with Welsh Government guidelines.

This means that all organised sport and activities must comply with the relevant NGB guidelines.”

Higher Education must follow these guidelines at this time.

Northern Ireland Specific

The Northern Irish Government recently announced the £25M Sports Sustainability Fund. The fund is designed to help governing bodies of sport and clubs who have been financially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Information has been requested as to whether this applies to universities in Northern Ireland. This comes on top of their strategic approach “Build Back Better” to plan a way out of the Covid enforced restrictions.

The current restrictions state that:

“Indoor and outdoor sport is not permitted, other than at elite level.

All sports facilities such as leisure centres, gyms, health clubs, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, fitness and dance studios must close.” 

As and when I receive more information, I will update you as quickly as I can.

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Friday 27 November

Updated Fixture Release

Following input from members across a range of meetings, and as updated in our communication last week, we have been reviewing our timeline for publishing Term Two fixtures.

Guidance from members is that there should be four working weeks between the release of fixtures and the start of the league programme. It was also requested that the updated extraordinary season rules and regulations should be published at the same time as the fixtures.

Combining this feedback with the current situation throughout the UK in terms of restrictions, we are not releasing fixtures before Christmas. This decision will necessitate a delay to the planned start of the programme.

Our updated timeline is as follows:

  • Week commencing 7 December: Publish updated Provisional Leagues document and Appendix 2A
  • Friday 15 January: Release fixtures on BUCS Play, and finalised Rules and Regulations on website
  • Wednesday 17 February: First scheduled fixtures for all sports, except collision sports

When fixtures are published, these will still be required to follow government, NGB and institutional guidelines in order to take place. In addition, we will continue to evaluate decisions and feedback is welcomed to Andy Gilvary, National Competitions Manager, and/or Ben Philip, Head of Competitions and Performance.

This new timeline allows for the current programme structure to be maintained, although it will unfortunately see a reduction in spare weeks for rearranging fixtures. Any nine team leagues will need to be amended to fit the new structure. A new Provisional Leagues document will be released during the week beginning 7 December.

For National Tier leagues, we will continue to consult with relevant League Management Committees to deliver the most appropriate competition schedule.

Collision Sports

Fixtures for collision sports - American Football, Rugby League, Rugby Union - are an exception to the above in terms of starting date, and will begin on Wednesday 24 February.

The combination of the training lead-in time needed before competition starts and government and NGB positions on return to competition within these sports, requires a longer gap between the start of the year and the fixtures starting.

The current first week of fixtures (24 February), will be reviewed on a regular basis to take into account all appropriate guidelines. This timeline will require leagues of greater than 6 teams to be amended to allow a full competition. These updated leagues will be published in the new Provisional Leagues document, week beginning 7 December.

This delay to the start of the season will mean that it is not possible to deliver a knockout programme in these sports. In instances where teams have been charged the full entry fee due to the offer of a knockout competition, a credit note equal to a 20% discount will be issued.

Knockout Competitions

The Championship knockout competition is under review for all non-collision sports and all eligible teams will be consulted in the coming week.

Western Conference and Premier Tiers

Following recent discussions with English and Welsh Governing Bodies, there is a growing likelihood of either differing return to play pathways between nations or cross border travel challenges throughout Term Two.

In order to provide the best experience within these constraints, the Competitions Team will be consulting next week with all members of the Western Conference on the makeup of the leagues.

Our current intention is to deliver Premier Tier competition but many of the challenges in the Western Conference will be present for these competitions where cross border fixtures are scheduled. We will continue to review the Premier Tier competition and will share updates as appropriate.

Rules and Regulations Update

The consensus on regulations for Term Two at the Competitions Group meeting (Tuesday 24 November) was that BUCS general and sport specific regulations should, on the whole, be relaxed and requirements lowered in order to support institutions in being able to get fixtures arranged and put teams out.

We are working through our regulations applying the principle of looking to relax or remove any elements which could limit the chances of fixtures being able to go ahead in this extraordinary season. For Premier Tier competition, we will look to balance easing regulations to facilitate competition with maintaining regulations that ensure a consistent level of student experience.

A full set of general and sport specific regulations will be published in line with the release of fixtures. However, we cannot predict or account for all of the ways in which COVID-19 may impact the season and so whilst we will aim to have addressed as many potential issues as possible, it is likely that further changes may be required.

Additionally, each fixture will be subject to any NGB, UK government, devolved administration or local authority rules, regulations and guidance in relation to COVID-19 in place at the time. Such rules, regulations and guidance may change during the competition. These shall supersede any BUCS General or Sport Specific Regulations.

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Friday 20 November

Term Two Updated Provisional Leagues Release

Following the Provisional League Feedback Window closing on Friday 13 November, we have amended the leagues to incorporate both feedback and withdrawals. Amendments have been made in line with the programme released to members on Friday 30 October.

Any institution that submitted specific feedback about the league will be receiving a response as to how we have actioned their feedback, and why we have taken that action.

We have tried to accommodate as much feedback as possible and thanks to everyone that did contact us - all feedback is hugely valuable to us. In a number of cases it is your local geographical knowledge that allows us to make improvements to the leagues.

The updated leagues are available HERE. These will not be accessible directly via the website yet as we understand that having public leagues may create unnecessary amounts of work for both institutional and BUCS staff responding to student enquiries about the leagues before fixtures are released.

We remain open to feedback on the leagues but cannot guarantee requested changes will be possible. If you have any comments please send them to either Andy Gilvary, National Competitions Manager, and/or Neal Kington, Competitions Coordinator.

Fixture Release Update

Following the Hot Topic session on Friday 13 November discussing Term Two planning, we have reviewed our plan for releasing fixtures on BUCS Play. We have heard from members that it is still too early to make a decision around this and so we will not be providing an updated timeline today.

However, we will send a further update on Friday 27 November. We wish to remain as flexible as possible while understanding that for many institutions releasing fixtures will provide a much-needed guide for Term Two plans.

It has been clear from feedback, and it is very much appreciated, that our members understand that the balance we are trying to strike between waiting for national stability versus providing league competition stability is a difficult one. Thank you for your understanding to date and we would welcome any further comments/views on getting that right. Please share any comments you have with Ben Philip, Head of Competitions and Performance, and/or Andy Gilvary.

Billing Information

As has been indicated during the team entry process it is our intention to bill for team entries in November. The closure of the free withdrawal window on Friday 13 November means that we are now able to finalise invoices and to apply the discount, where requested, on entries in leagues without an associated knockout competition.

For any queries about entry fees post-billing, please see our Cancellations, Withdrawals and Refunds Policy. If you believe that your circumstance may fall outside of the terms of the policy, please get in touch with Jenny Morris, Director of Delivery, and/or Ben Philip.

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Tuesday 10 November

Fixture Publication Delay

Following feedback received from the membership about institutional decision making based on government guidance around education, the Executive has reviewed our timeline on fixture publication on BUCS Play.

It no longer seems prudent to publish all fixtures on 27 November and so we will be delaying this publication date. While we acknowledge early publication is important for fixture administration, the anticipated disruption between now and the start of the season leads us to conclude that publication in November would lead to an increased workload for IAs, something we are keen to avoid where possible.

We will be discussing a new timeline, along with our approach to league changes due to withdrawals, at the Hot Topic session on Friday 13 November.

In the meantime we will publish an updated Provisional Leagues document on Friday 27 November to incorporate all feedback and withdrawals received within the initial Provisional Leagues Feedback Window by Friday 13 November. The season dates remain as per Appendix 2a for all league and knockout fixtures. 

Provisional Leagues Feedback Window

Following the release of Version 1 of the 2020-21 Provisional Leagues on Friday 30 October, this is a reminder that the window to provide feedback on those leagues closes at 11:59pm on Friday 13 November.

All feedback is welcomed to ensure that we provide the best possible structure for the programme in term two - please send to either National Competitions Manager, Andy Gilvary and/or National Competitions Coordinator, Neal Kington.

Late Entries

It is not too late to request to add teams to the programme if you have had greater interest than expected. If you would like to enter any additional teams, please email the Competitions Team stating the sport, gender and number of teams you would like entered into the programme.

Late entries may be accepted, but their inclusion in the programme may be subject to approval from affected teams.


Following discussions with members, we are changing some of our policies with regards to withdrawals for this season.

In a normal year, requests to withdraw teams would be applied from the bottom team up. For example, an institution with one team in Premier Tier, one in Tier 2, and one in Tier 4 wanting to withdraw a team(s) would have to withdraw the Tier 4 team first, then the Tier 2 team, then the Premier Tier team. Institutions were not permitted to withdraw a higher ranked team, whilst maintaining any lower ranked teams.

In this extraordinary year, institutions may withdraw specific teams without impacting other teams in that sport. Using the above example, the institution would be able to withdraw their Premier Team and retain two teams, one in Tier 2 and one in Tier 4.

This change has been made as we are aware that there may be reasons related to Covid-19, that means that your institution is not able to field teams at certain levels but can at others. For example, as travel restrictions continue to be in place across the UK that travel cross-country (including cross-border) may not be possible for your institution and that this decision may have been made outside of your control.

Another change is with regards to entry fee refunds. In a normal year, after the entry deadline has closed, if an institution were to withdraw a team, they would not receive an entry fee refund.

For this season, we can confirm that teams who are withdrawn during the initial Provisional Leagues Feedback Window (closing 11.59pm on Friday 13 November) will not be charged the associated entry fee. After this date, our updated Cancellation, Withdrawals and Refunds Policy details in what circumstances institutions may be eligible for an entry fee refund.

If you would like to withdraw any teams from their respective programmes, please send any requests to the Competitions Team. Please state the sport, gender and specific team you would like removed from the programme.

Ring Fencing

Ring Fencing of teams allows for a variation to the standard BUCS Team Selection regulations (REG 11.1) by allowing a Playing Entity to identify separate groupings of student-athletes such as ‘Medics’.

As entries and leagues are finalised, this is a reminder that Ring Fencing is an annual process. Should you wish to apply for Ring Fencing for any of your teams for the 2020-21 season, you will need to submit a Ring-Fenced Teams Pro Forma (Appendix 3) requesting this to Neal Kington by 11:59pm on Friday 13 November.

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Thursday 5 November

Following an update by Government yesterday for schools, further education and higher education (HE), there was no mention of sport, physical education or extra-curricular activity in HE. I have asked for clarification and for it to be added to the guidance. 

Our understanding at present is that: 


  • universities must follow the national guidelines, for example shutting gyms 
  • there are no exemptions to this.
  • Sport based lectures which need labs or practical sessions can go ahead as part of the curriculum
  • all extra-curricular activity must stop.

We will update you once we have clarification from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).


A meeting was held on 30 October with the CEO of the Welsh Sports Association. BUCS will now receive their circulations and be added to their consultation groups, as appropriate for their work liaising with the Welsh Government. We are now waiting for their next update.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, an initial meeting is scheduled for 10 November, with the Northern Ireland Sports Forum, to discuss how we can work together, and possibly to lobby for students to be allowed to take part in sport and physical activity.


We are being guided by Scottish Student Sport about how we support them and students in Scotland, during their lockdown measures which are very nuanced in their application dependent on region and level of infection.

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Friday 30 October

With the closing of our third and final team entry window on Friday 16 October, the BUCS Executive are now pleased to publish the first draft of our provisional leagues document.

Within this document you will find all 22 sports and 36 programmes as part of our League and Knockout offer for the 2020-21 season, with both male and female cricket team entries opening in January 2021.

As per the Term Two Extraordinary Season information released on Friday 9 October, the BUCS Executive have implemented Option One (Executive recommendation) across all programmes and structures.

All teams who have been placed within their respective conferences, tiers and leagues can now be found below, in version 1 of the 2020-21 Provisional Leagues document.


Teams and games per league

With the exception of our Premier Tier leagues (including National leagues), which (excluding golf) have remained as per their current structure for the number of teams per league, league structures will operate as per the below:

  • For 8 team leagues, each team will play 7 games, Home OR Away
  • For 7 team leagues, each team will play 6 games, Home OR Away
  • For 6 team leagues, each team will play 5 games, Home OR Away
  • For 5 team leagues, each team will play 4 games, Home OR Away
  • For 4 team leagues, each team will play 6 games, Home AND Away
  • For 3 team leagues, of which there are only six, each team will play 4 games, Home AND Away
  • For those league structures that display two teams only (of which there are three), the Competitions Team will wait until the end of the feedback and late entry window prior to confirming if these leagues will go ahead. If one or more additional teams are not entered the league will not go ahead.
  • For those league structures that display one team only (of which there is one), the Competitions Team will wait until the end of the feedback and late entry window prior to confirming if the league will go ahead. If two or more additional teams are not entered the league will not go ahead

Late entries

If you would like to enter any additional teams now the deadline has passed, please email the Competitions Team stating the sport, gender and number of teams you would like entered into the programme.

Team removal

If you would like to now remove any teams from their respective programmes, please send any requests to the Competitions Team. Please state the sport, gender and specific team you would like removed from the programme.


The BUCS Executive would now welcome any feedback on the provisional leagues document, which can be directed to National Competitions Manager Andy Gilvary ([email protected]) and/or National Competitions Coordinator Neal Kington ([email protected]).

The deadline for feedback will be 23:59 on Friday 13 November, with leagues and fixtures published on BUCS Play on Friday 27 November.

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Friday 16 October

Higher education’s exemption from the ‘rule of six’ for indoor sport is still applicable for all three tiers, meaning inter-university sport, and intramural indoor sport, can still go ahead in all areas of England. 

Please refer to the guidance laid out by Sport England here. 

Essentially, the exemption for indoor sports remains for Higher Education across all three tiers, however we would recommend you contact your University Senior Leadership Team and Health and Safety office for internal confirmation. We also advise you contact your local authority as some decisions are being pushed down to local leaders to make, therefore local guidance may vary.

We are continuing to work with agencies across all other Home Nations to find a solution for the rule of six and will communicate further updates as required.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Music and Sport (DCMS) is yet to update their guidance but we will continue to work with them to get further information and provide it on this Return to Play webpage as soon as possible.

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Friday 2 October

We are delighted to announce that following discussions with colleagues at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) and Sport England, indoor sports for students across Higher Education in England are exempt from the ‘Rule of 6’ with the specific clarifications outlined below. We are aware that this now means there are different guidelines across the nations. We will continue to work with you to try and influence agencies across all Home Nations and will communicate further updates as required.

We lobbied specifically on the issue of student wellbeing, both physical and mental, and see this as a significant boost to those students who may be living under numerous restrictions. This will enable students to maintain social contact whilst remaining active which will have a positive impact on their wellbeing.

Whilst the exemption does not currently cover recreational use, i.e. 5-a-side bookings for groups of friends, there is a strong opportunity to broaden intra-mural activity and we will update you in due course about how we will be supporting this.

The specific detail around this exemption is as follows:

  • Over-18s are only covered by the exemption for sport for educational purposes but this does include intra-mural, training and inter-university competitions.
  • This includes anything related to the curriculum/sport-related degree programmes.
  • Playing for school/college/university teams is covered by the exemption both at an intra-mural and inter-university level. Communication on Term One activity, including localised leagues for indoor sport, will be shared later today.
  • The exemption does not apply to all activity that happens to take place on the university site. i.e. playing for a university team is exempt, but another football club/league that happens to use the university facilities or is loosely associated would not fall under the exemption. It could still go ahead, but the rule of 6 would apply as with other indoor team sport.
  • Over-18s and under-18s (who are students at the university) can play together without restrictions only where this falls under the education exemption (as set out above). If not, the under-18s are exempt, but if an over-18 joins, the rule of six applies to everyone.
  • Whilst inter-university competition is covered by the exemption, consideration should be given as to how best to minimise exposure by avoiding unnecessary travel and mixing with teams from other institutions. Following NGB guidelines will assist in this area.

We encourage you to liaise with your university’s Health and Safety department and Senior Leadership Team to share this information and confirm their willingness and acceptance to permit student clubs to take up this opportunity.

We are waiting for the official guidance to be issued by DCMS. We will post a link to the official guidance when it is available.

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Thursday 3 September

Term One Team Competition Update

Key updates: 
  • Term one will consist of an opt-in competition with regional leagues
  • A focus on participation and playing, rather than performance and reward
  • Entries will open on BUCS Play on Monday 7 September

Following feedback from members that there is a desire to run team competition in term one we have looked into how this could work.

We won't be moving the Leagues and Knockout programme into term one, as the reason for the initial delay is still relevant. However, we would like to offer a team competition in term one; with a means for IAs to easily arrange fixtures around a structured competition, flexing to allow for the ebbs and flows of government and governing body regulations that we are expecting to see across the country in term one. 

We asked members to give feedback on how many of their teams they might enter into a regional, or national offering in term one. Over 60 institutions and more than 1,600 teams were listed as being interested in competing. The overwhelming desire was to have a regional offering rather than a national programme.

The Offer

The term one opt-in competition’s focus is on the fun of returning to sport, with no rewards aligned to performance in the competition. However, we will be looking to work in conjunction with members to recognise the performances and stories that arise as student sport returns to campuses.

Entered teams will be placed into regional leagues broadly aligned to BUCS League tiers. However, leagues will have more than six teams to allow increased flexibility and the ability to manage potential local lockdowns.

All fixtures will be released with a nominal date set before the league opens. Setting dates and venues for fixtures will be at the discretion of IAs, following the standard Fixture Change Request process. How many matches a team plays (up to twice against each team) will be at the discretion of the institution. We will have the programme open for eight weeks and institutions can play on any day during those weeks.

The competition will not use the full range of BUCS Rules and Regulations. However, those rules and regulations should be useful to ensure expectations for the fixture are clear between the two teams. There will be no walkovers or playing under protest forms allowed in the competition.

Next Steps

Entries will be through BUCS Play and will open on Monday 7 September and close on Friday 18 September. The cost of participation will be tied to the planned programme for term two. Specifically:

If a team is entered into the term two league competition, the entry fee for term one will be waived.
If a team does not enter into term two league competition, the entry fee for term one will be equivalent to the term two entry fee.
Entry fees will be set at the window two entry price. However, if the entry price decreases for term two that will be applied to term one.

IAs will receive an email to confirm that entries are open for the term one competition. IAs will be required to enter all teams through BUCS Play, following guidance in next week's email. This will be a new competition so all teams will have to be entered.

Monday 7 September Entries open
Friday 18 September Entries close
Friday 2 October Leagues live on BUCS Play
Monday 5 October - Wednesday 16 December Fixture window

If you have any further questions about the above please get in touch with Ben Philip.

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Wednesday 26 August

BUCS Event Calendar 2020-21

The BUCS Event Calendar displays all the individual events that are part of the BUCS Sport Programme. It's important to note it does not include dates related to the BUCS League and Knockout Programme.

From the Return to Play consultation that has been undertaken, it was clear that students are keen to get back to sport as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. Our priority is to deliver events that are feasible, safe and in demand (meaning that institutions and students are wanting to take part).

We have worked with our Event Management Groups (EMGs), Sport Advisory Groups (SAGs), NGBs and other key stakeholders to prepare a provisional event calendar for the 2020-21 season. Some events will look different from previous years as we focus on delivering in line with current guidelines.

With uncertainty around when some sports will be able to return fully, it is not possible to deliver the usual event portfolio and therefore some events have sadly been cancelled. There are also several events that are still under review; further details on this can be found below.

Our aim is to remain as flexible as possible and be able to react to the changing landscape. We will continue to review events on a regular basis and update as necessary.

Provisional Event Calendar

This is now live

The provisional event calendar contains all events that have dates confirmed and that we intend to run.
Please note though, all events are still subject to change and will be dependent on how policies and guidelines evolve over the coming weeks.
You can see the specific information which shows the status for each event on the individual sport pages

Cancelled Events

Given the unprecedented challenges that we are facing, we have had to make some difficult decisions about the event calendar for this coming season.

We have liaised with our extensive network of partners and sport-specific experts to individually review all events. We have reviewed delivery across a matrix of criteria, looking at NGB plans, facility availability, social distancing compatibility, delivery window options, event size, cost, and workforce provision.

Our guiding principle of only offering events that we believe are safe and feasible to deliver, means that unfortunately, some events will not take place during the 2020-21 season. Please note, that we will, of course, continue to review our decision making as the situation evolves. It is also our intention to re-introduce all events back into the 2021-22 calendar.

Given the unprecedented challenges that we are facing, we have had to make some difficult decisions about the event calendar for this coming season.

We have liaised with our extensive network of partners and sport-specific experts to individually review all events. We have reviewed delivery across a matrix of criteria, looking at NGB plans, facility availability, social distancing compatibility, delivery window options, event size, cost, and workforce provision.

Our guiding principle of only offering events that we believe are safe and feasible to deliver, means that unfortunately, some events will not take place during the 2020-21 season. Please note, that we will of course continue to review our decision making as the situation evolves. It is also our intention to re-introduce all events back into the 2021-22 calendar.

Please see below a list of the events that will not be included in the 2020-21 event calendar:

  • Athletics - Indoors
  • Boxing
  • Canoe - Slalom
  • Cycling - Track
  • Snowsports - Main Event
  • Swimming - Speedo and BUCS Short Course Swimming Championships
  • Taekwondo - Autumn Championship

BUCS Nationals will also not be a part of the 2020-21 event calendar. We are exploring options to still host some of the individual sports that make up the event. Most of these are still under review
You can access further information for each event on the individual sport pages

Events Under Review

There are several events that we have not yet cancelled and are not yet listed on the calendar. This is because they are still under review. 

Being under review does not mean the events will not take place, it simply means that either a date has not yet been confirmed, or more work is needed to ensure their feasibility. Please see individual sport pages for the status of each event.

A further update on all events will be published in October, however individual sport and event pages will be updated whenever possible. 

There are also several events that are dependent on ongoing discussions around the format of the league programme. These are:

  • BUCS Big Wednesday
  • Cricket - Indoor Leagues, Knockouts & Finals
  • Futsal Finals
  • Korfball Programme
  • Rugby Union Finals
  • Squash Premier League - Stages 1 and 2

New events 

We are also pleased to include two new events for the 2020-21 season. The BUCS Weightlifting & Para Powerlifting Championships and the BUCS Handball Championships will be welcomed into the programme for the first time, and we look forward to delivering these events in partnerships with British Weightlifting and England Handball.

If you any have questions about Return to Play for Events, visit our frequently asked questions.

In addition to our league based competition, our Events Team are continuing work on the calendar of individual event activity beginning in term one. These events may look different from previous years as we focus on delivering them in-line with new safety guidelines. It is still the intention to publish the calendar by the end of August to allow institutions to understand the full BUCS Competition offer. 

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Friday 31 July

Return to play guidance from government agencies and sport governing bodies continues to evolve.

Some sport national governing bodies have recently published government-approved action plans and guidance on safe return to play. Many others are working hard to progress their plans and garner similar approval in the coming weeks.

Government advice and guidance is likely to evolve further as restrictions continue to change, so we will continue to review and update our plans accordingly. As a part of this, we are currently investigating the support we may be able to provide institutions that wish to deliver inter-university sport in term one.

We are currently investigating an ‘opt-in’ competition offer for BUCS teams, to run between late October and the Christmas break. The offer would be free to all teams entered into the BUCS leagues which are due to start in January 2021, and would be delivered on a much more flexible basis. While our main league competition is still scheduled for term two, we hope that this offer may be of interest to enable students to return to play as soon as they are ready.

To enable us to fully model the potential offer, we are looking to understand what interest teams have in competing in an ‘opt-in’ competition format in term one. We will be doing this by emailing Institutional Administrators directly. If you believe you should have received this email but haven’t, please email [email protected] 

In addition to our league based competition, our Events Team are continuing work on the calendar of individual event activity beginning in term one. These events may look different from previous years as we focus on delivering them in-line with new safety guidelines. It is still the intention to publish the calendar by the end of August to allow institutions to understand the full BUCS Competition offer. 

Update on 'Return to Play' planning. Issued Tuesday 16 June

Despite the current uncertainty around what sport will look like in the future, we will make sure that BUCS is ready when the time comes to return to play.

We have been working hard, in partnership with our members, to develop the right strategies to enable students to return to physical activity and sport as soon as the time is right to do so.

There will be further considerations over the coming weeks, but following extensive consultation with our members, we have made some decisions regarding BUCS competition next season. 

Leagues and Knockouts Programme

Next season, the majority of BUCS leagues will take place between January and April 2021. The only exception will be outdoor cricket, which will remain in Term 3.

The decision to focus on Term 2 is a result of feedback from our members, who want to be able to support students in their preparation for returning to competitive team sport.

The 2020-21 season will be considered a ‘bridging season’ with no promotion or relegation at the conclusion of competition. League standings from 2019-20 will be used to create the 2021-22 league structures for those institutions who maintain affiliation to BUCS in 2020-21.

Please note, the size of leagues, and the inclusion of cup knockout competitions alongside the league programme, is still under review.

Event Programme

We have been working with our delivery partners and national governing bodies to assess the viability of our programme of over 120 events, and we plan to release the full calendar of 2020-21 BUCS Events by Friday 28 August 2020.

We are still including Term 1 dates within our planning, in the hopes that we will be able to offer activity should it be safe and appropriate to do so.

We are exploring the viability of expanding existing offers within sports that best lend themselves to social distancing guidelines. We are also considering innovative ideas, such as virtual activity, to broaden the demographic of students engaging with BUCS competition.

Our aim is to remain as flexible as possible and be able to react to the changing landscape, which will ultimately dictate when it is safe to return to play.


League and Knockout
After consultation with institutions and the management group, the decision has been made to postpone the start of the LUSL league and knockout activity until term 2. The team entry window will open and run alongside the BUCS team entry process, starting from stage 2 on July 24th. 

Events and Additional Activity
We will aim to deliver a LUSL events programme in Term 1. We will look to keep all LUSL Members actively engaged throughout the upcoming season and are exploring a variety of options to provide as much additional activity as possible. All events will be evaluated to ensure that they are safe, feasible and have demand from the students.

International Programme

We are working closely with the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) and the European Sports Association (EUSA), to continue to explore opportunities to provide opportunities for GB students to compete in international competition during the 2020-21 season.

Other planning

We have continued to develop our competition management platform, BUCS Play, to offer a significantly enhanced experience next season.

We have surveyed 90,000 students about their intentions, concerns and expectations around sport and physical activity, ahead of returning to their places of study.

In the absence of in-person physical activity and sport, we have also developed an activity finder platform to support our #GetBUCSActive campaign. This platform enables university staff and students to access a range of live and on-demand physical activity content from our network of member institutions.

As we move forward with our planning, we will continue to engage our members and partners, and will share all the information we can over the next few weeks and months. 
In the near future, we will host more forums and seminars to support all those involved in higher education sport and physical activity. This will include providing more opportunities for students to help shape our offering. 
We will ensure that higher education sport remains accessible to everyone who wants to take part, and that health and safety remains at the forefront of everything. We look forward to overcoming these challenges with our members and seeing higher education sport once again thrive.
We would like to thank all members, partners and students for their continued support and understanding during these difficult times. We understand the importance of student sport in shaping the university experience and are looking forward to welcoming competition back when safe to do so.

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