The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced the cancellation of fall sports for the 2020-21 season on Dec. 10.
This decision to cancel the fall sports season comes after a careful review of the ongoing health and safety obstacles that all 11 Big West Conference (BWC) member institutions have been facing in the recent months. Additionally, the usage of resources, such as COVID-19 testing that is required to ensure the protection of student-athletes, factored in the decision.
This cancellation affects UCI Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, and Women’s Indoor Volleyball. Men’s Water Polo is not affiliated with the BWC and is not impacted. Updates for the sport will come from the Golden Coast Conference.
However, this decision does not affect the current UCI Men’s and Women’s Basketball season, which tipped off its non-conference schedule in late November. Rather, through scrutinous observations, the BWC Board of Directors will proceed with the season and act accordingly to how the situation evolves. Currently, all UCI basketball games are being played in empty arenas.
Initially on July 20, the BWC Board of Directors postponed the fall season to the 2021 calendar year with a vision to have fall, winter and spring sports compete at the same time. However, the decision to ultimately cancel the fall season was in the best interest for the well-being of staff, coaches, student-athletes and their families, according to the BWC Commissioner Dan Butterly.
“Despite a strong desire to return our fall sport student-athletes to competition, the Board unanimously agreed that the resources and protocols needed to safely and equitably conduct fall, winter and spring sports seasons concurrently was not in line with those priorities nor in the best interests of our student-athletes and coaches,” Butterly said in the statement on Dec. 10.
The BWC Board of Directors will keep enacting safety protocols and medical procedures to ensure the safety of their players and the rest of the season.
“While this decision is disappointing for many, the health and safety of Big West student-athletes, coaches, staff and the campus community continue to be the preeminent priorities for the CEO’s of the conference’s 11 institutions,” BWC Chair and UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman said.
The BWC games are still expected to start on Dec. 27 and last until the end of the season in early March. As a result, this year’s basketball season will serve as an indicator to determine the continuation of spring sports. The decision on the spring season is expected to be updated in late January 2021.
Avi Gokool is a 2020-2021 Sports Co-Editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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