Covid-19 has reared its ugly head with regard to fall sports in the Western Athletic Conference. On Thursday morning the WAC announced that it is suspending fall sports through the end of the calendar year.
“It obviously was a difficult decision, and not one made lightly,” said WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd. “But it was one made after extensive discussion and consideration of all relevant factors as well as input from conference administrators and the Medical Advisory Committee. The health and safety of our student-athletes, the many others associated with our athletics programs and all those in our campus environments always will be the highest priority.”
Bullet points from the WAC with regard to its decision
- The fall conference championship sports affected are men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer. Contingent on the NCAA fall championships being moved to the spring and if feasible, the WAC will conduct the respective sports during the same time frame.
- The decision also affects the non-championship portion of the schedule for men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, baseball, and softball, with January 1 set as the earliest opportunity for competition in these sports.
- Men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s swimming and diving competition will be postponed through the end of October pending Board discussion on winter athletics competition.
- Affiliate members remain under the jurisdiction of institutional discretion when it comes to determining a safe return to competition.
- Conditioning, strength training and other practice opportunities in all sports will be permitted per institutional discretion.
It is a tough day for student-athletes, coaches and athletic departments. Some teams had just begun training.
— Coach Maas (@GregMaas11) August 12, 2020
How will this decision affect the start of the basketball season and winter sports? Basketball season tips off in early November. A decision could be made in October to push the start back into January.
Utah Valley Director of Athletics – Jared Sumsion
GCU Interim VP of Athletics – Jamie Boggs
“We support the conference’s decision knowing it was made in the best interest of our student-athletes, coaches and campus communities,” GCU Interim Vice President of Athletics Jamie Boggs said. “GCU continues to be committed to ensuring a safe and supportive environment where student-athletes can progress academically, athletically and spiritually.”
Seattle University Director of Athletics – Shaney Fink
“While heartbreaking and difficult, the health and wellbeing of our student-athletes remains the utmost priority and the decision not to compete this fall is in the best interest of the Seattle U community,” said Director of Athletics Shaney Fink. “We all grieve for what we have lost in this global pandemic. Though not at all what we had imagined for this fall quarter, we must now adjust our focus beyond competition and provide the best possible experience for our student-athletes.”
UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics – Chasse Conque
“This was a difficult decision, but one made with our student-athletes’ health and welfare at the forefront,” UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said. “The last few months have dealt us considerable adversity, but I am confident that we will work through these challenging times and emerge stronger. The future remains bright for UTRGV Athletics and the Rio Grande Valley.”
Utah Valley Women’s Soccer Head Coach – Chris Lemay
Dixie State Women’s Soccer Head Coach – Molly Rouse
We will update this story as more athletic directors make statements throughout the WAC.