After initially being postponed in July, the Big West conference hoped to play fall sports in the spring, but those sports will have to wait once more, as the conference announced on Thursday evening that fall sports will not be played in the 2020-21 academic year.
This decision affects the men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country and women’s volleyball teams at Cal State Fullerton.
“Protecting the health and safety of our student athletes and following public health guidelines are our top priorities,” said Big West Commissioner Dan Butterly in a statement. “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.”
There were several other conferences that made the same initial move of postponing fall sports in hopes to play them in the spring, but the Big West now joins the Ivy League in completely canceling fall sports for the academic year after the Ivy League decided to do so on Nov. 12.
The decision was made by the conference’s board of directors, which is made up of the 11 university presidents. As of Thursday evening, CSUF Athletics has yet to release a statement on the cancellation, and no statement was made by the Big West regarding the eligibility of fall sport athletes.
Despite the cancellation of the fall season, men’s and women’s basketball will continue to play, but the board said it “will continue to monitor and evaluate the current program of COVID-19 medical and safety protocols.”
The board of directors added that it is hoping to use the current basketball season as a measuring stick for the spring sports season, which typically begins in February. A decision will be made regarding spring sports by the end of January, and there have been no schedules released for any of CSUF’s spring sports.
The college basketball season has seen its fair share of postponements and cancellations since the season began on Nov. 25. At CSUF, the men’s basketball team had to cancel its first three games because of a positive COVID-19 test within the team, which then made their season opening game yesterday against Bethesda University, but it was also postponed because Bethesda had a positive case. On the women’s basketball side, the season opener against UCLA was postponed for two days because the Titans did not receive their test results in time.
The cancellation comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in California, where 10 of the 11 conference members are located, with the lone member being the University of Hawai’i. California Gov. Gavin Newsom also issued a stay-at-home order last week as the number of available ICU beds dwindles in the state.
This story will be updated when new information is available.