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REPORTED: BIG EAST Cancels Fall Sports Due to COVID-19

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Going from conference-only to nada.

2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

UPDATE: It’s officially a postponement and “The Conference will assess alternative options to stage fall sports contests during the spring of 2021.” See the Press Release below.

A few respected journalists are tweeting that the BIG EAST will imminently announce that they are cancelling fall sports, including men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and field hockey.

The BIG EAST previously announced delays and conference-only matchups, but the conference is following a recent wave of decisions. Several other conferences, such as The Big Ten and Pac 12, previously canceled fall sports (or more) for 2020. Some conference are leaving open the possibility of athletic events in the spring semester.

The defending National Champion Men’s Soccer team will keep their crown for now. Patriot League football had already been cancelled but apparently options for a spring football season are still “on the table.”

Georgetown Hoyas Basketball is still untouched for now, but it feels like it’s only a matter of time before a “delayed until at least 2021” announcement is released for BIG EAST Basketball. A few ideas for BIG EAST bubbles have come out since the early rumors.

Press Release:

BIG EAST Announces Fall Sports Postponement

NEW YORK – Due to the unprecedented and continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BIG EAST Conference and its member institutions have announced that fall sports competition will not be conducted in 2020. The Conference will assess alternative options to stage fall sports contests during the spring of 2021.

The decision was made in consultation with the BIG EAST COVID-19 Task Force, an intra-conference medical advisory group that includes administrators, doctors, athletic trainers, student-athletes and national experts in global pandemics and infectious diseases.

“The decision to not hold fall sports competition was not made lightly,” said Chair of the BIG EAST Board of Directors and Villanova University President the Reverend Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD. “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 are, and will continue to be, our priority and focus.”

“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,” said BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman. “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.”

Other details are as follows:

  • The sports affected are: men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and field hockey. Sports that are not sponsored by the BIG EAST Conference are not affected.
  • The fall competition for sports in their non-traditional seasons, which includes baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s tennis, will not be held.
  • During the fall months, BIG EAST student-athletes will be allowed to participate in various team activities, such as practices, strength and conditioning sessions, and team meetings, consistent with individual campus policies, public health guidelines and NCAA and Conference regulations.
  • 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.

Georgetown issued a press release from athletic director Lee Reed:

BIG EAST Decision Regarding Fall 2020 Athletic Competition

Dear Georgetown Athletics Community,

Today the BIG EAST Conference and its member institutions announced that due to the unprecedented and continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, fall sports and competition will not be conducted for 2020. This affects men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and field hockey. The fall competition for sports in their non-traditional seasons, which includes baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s tennis will not be held.

Today’s announcement is in line with the recent announcement from President DeGioia regarding a move to virtual education in the fall. The Athletics Department is following the University’s current guidance regarding on-campus activities and there will not be in-person team activities at this time. The BIG EAST also announced it will begin to explore conducting our fall sports during the spring if conditions allow. Decisions on winter and spring sport schedules will be made at a later time. The BIG EAST Task Force will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions across the country and in the BIG EAST communities. Consistent with this announcement, our men’s rowing and sailing programs will also not compete this fall.

We are experiencing unprecedented times, and I understand that this decision is incredibly disappointing. This decision was made in consultation with the BIG EAST COVID-19 Task Force, an intra-conference medical advisory group that includes administrators, doctors, athletic trainers, student-athletes, and national experts in global pandemics and infectious diseases. The health and safety of BIG EAST student-athletes, coaches and administrators are our highest priority.

If you have additional questions, please refer to the University’s Fall 2020 FAQs.

I ask that you stay safe and know that we are all in this together.