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 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.

LUSL

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.

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
Background

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.

Timeline
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.

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