Big East Postpones Fall Season; Decision on Winter to Come

Big East Championships Photo Courtesy: Will Schneekloth

The Big East Conference announced Wednesday that it will postpone the 2020 fall sports season, but the conference deferred a decision on winter sports.

The decision postpones fall sports – men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and field hockey – from the fall, while the conference “will assess alternative options to stage fall sports contests during the spring of 2021.” All spring sports that have “non-traditional” portions of their schedule in the fall (i.e. fall baseball or lacrosse) are cancelled.

Fall sport athletes will be allowed to practice and participate in team activities, subject to campus policies and local health guidelines.

“This very difficult decision came after an exhaustive review by our Presidents and Athletics Directors and followed consideration of NCAA guidance, COVID-19 case counts and trend lines nationally and in BIG EAST communities, and the many unknowns surrounding testing availability, turnaround time and travel restrictions in our 11 locales,” Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman said in a conference statement.  “We take pride in the high-level competition and experiences we provide to our fall sports student-athletes, and we share their deep disappointment that this will not be a normal year.  Our plans for men’s and women’s basketball and other sports are unaffected at this time.”

As far as winter sports like swimming and diving, no decision has yet been made:

The BIG EAST COVID Task Force will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions across the country and in BIG EAST communities.  Decisions on winter and spring sports schedules will be made at a later time.

Swimming and diving is slated to start in the middle of the fall semester, in late September and October. The Big East has 11 members institutions.

“The decision to not hold fall sports competition was not made lightly,” said Villanova University President the Reverend Peter M. Donohue, the Chair of the BIG EAST Board of Directors. “Athletics play an integral role in the student, alumni and fan experience at each of our institutions, and we were all hoping to allow the fall seasons to move forward. However, given the guidance of the BIG EAST COVID-19 Task Force, this decision, while disappointing, was made with the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff in mind. The well-being of our community members is, and will continue to be, our priority and focus.”

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