2020 Race Series Update

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2020 Race Series Update

Dear Idaho League Families:
As many of you are aware, the state of Idaho has continued to struggle with limiting the spread of COVID-19. Some regions with significant spikes in positive cases have reverted back to Stage-3 restrictions preventing several of our teams from starting their practices. The Harvard Global Health Institute has placed Idaho in its highest risk category along with only 10 other states nationwide. The Idaho League leadership team has been closely monitoring the situation and carefully evaluating our options based on guidance coming from the WHO, CDC and local health departments. The leadership team, along with input from coach representatives from across the state, has made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person league-hosted races for this fall. We realize that not everyone will agree with this decision. However we are 100% confident that this is the correct course of action to avoid contributing to further transmission of COVID-19 between our league families and throughout the communities where we all live. By cancelling our league events, we hope to be a positive part of the long-term solution to getting COVID-19 under control here in Idaho and a return to normalcy as soon as possible. While we recognize the value that youth sports, and particularly mountain biking play in the healthy, well-balanced development of our students, we feel that the return to in-person classes this fall needs to be prioritized over extra-curricular activities such as our league races. Rest assured that the competitive part of our NICA program is not going away. When it is safe to do so, we will return to the full-scale races across the state that we all look forward to each year. In the meantime, the Idaho League leadership team is working hard to develop alternative team-based activities that fulfill our mission to build strong minds, bodies, character and communities through cycling without sacrificing any of our core values of fun, inclusivity, equity, respect and community.

These are unprecedented times that call for unprecedented decisions. Please be patient as we do our best to come up with options that will allow teams to still operate in a safe and responsible manner. We will try to pro-actively answer some of the more frequently asked questions (see below), but we recognize that there will be many more questions we haven’t anticipated. We will continue to post updates to the IICL website, but your best source of information regarding your team is your team director.

Thank you for your continued understanding and support.

Eddie Freyer
IICL – Executive Director

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve already paid the league membership fee. Are there refunds or transfers to 2021 available?
Refunds or transfers are not available. As previously communicated in the pre-registration email sent out on May 11, the membership fee was reduced from $175 to $135 to account for the uncertainty of whether or not there would be IICL hosted events throughout the summer and fall. We asked that each family take this into consideration before registering.

The membership fee is unrelated to the fees for races and camps and had we been able to host the races, the $40 reduction in the membership fee would have been added to the normal race season pass fees. We opted to not open registration for the races until we knew whether races would occur in order to avoid the need to process mass refunds of the race fees.

As explained in the previous email communication, the membership fee allows student-athletes to participate in team practices for the duration of the 2020 season (7/1 through 10/30) with insurance coverage. Students cannot participate in any league-sanctioned events (including team practices) without first registering with the league and paying the $135 membership fee.
The membership fee goes toward covering league expenses, such as coach licensing fees, coach training expenses, insurance for all participants, and a portion of the day-to-day operating expenses of the league.

In 2019 the IICL made the decision to significantly reduce the cost for coaches to obtain their licensing in order to support the growing number of student-athletes wanting to participate in our program. Using the membership fee from student-athletes, the league now subsidizes the costs for licensing as follows:

Level 1 Coach = $40
Level 2 Coach = $110
Level 3 Coach = $150

With over 500 coaches in the IICL, a majority of the membership fee goes toward covering these licensing costs with another $40 of each membership fee covering the student-athletes insurance and NICA national fee. The NICA fee goes to support the work and expenses our national organization has in developing all the programs that we have available throughout the country.
By the time these expenses are covered from the membership fees collected, the Idaho league has very little remaining funds to cover our operating expenses. That being the case, we have looked carefully at all expenses and made reductions wherever possible. Our objective is to sill provide a quality program for the state of Idaho working within the restrictions COVID-19 has created, but to also be in a position to rebound fully in 2021, ready to support what is predicted to be a significant surge of student-athletes looking toward mountain biking as the preferred sporting activity in a post-COVID reality.

Will there be any league-hosted races at all this season?
While we have ruled out the full race series for this fall, we will continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19 here in Idaho and if we feel it is safe to do so, we will attempt a single state-championship race at the end of the season. The reality of this happening is low, but we will keep it open for consideration until September 1st.

As mentioned above, we are working on a team-based program that will provide a competitive opportunity this fall. Please check with your team director to see if your team is planning to participate in these activities.

I’m a senior and this was going to be my last season racing with NICA. What can I expect?
We recognize COVID-19 has affected all aspects of a student’s life. We will plan to recognize all of our graduating seniors in some meaningful way. We are open to suggestions from our graduating student-athletes and will work diligently to make sure your efforts and participation throughout the years don’t go unrecognized. Please email me with your ideas/suggestions (eddie@idahomtb.org).

Why isn’t it safe to host the races when teams are still being allowed to practice?
NICA and the IICL have developed protocols for smaller group team activities that follow recommended best practices from the CDC to limit the risk of transmission along with the ability to contain an exposure to COVID-19 in the event someone from the team tests positive. The same level of risk mitigation and containment is not possible at a full-scale NICA race. There is still risk involved in participating at the team level and we ask that each family evaluate their comfort level with this risk before deciding to attend a team practice. We also have communicated to team directors that anyone not willing to follow the NICA and team protocols will be asked to not participate at all.

What does the future look like for NICA and the IICL?
While no one can predict how long this pandemic will impact our daily lives, we are all very confident that NICA and the IICL will be here for the foreseeable future. All indications from the bike industry are that this pandemic has created an unprecedented demand for cycling as a replacement for indoor gyms, close-contact youth sports, etc. We fully expect to see a huge increase in participation in 2021 and beyond and have already started the planning for how we can meet this demand while still providing a quality experience for all our student-athletes, coaches, parents, volunteers, staff, sponsors and race spectators.

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