May 17, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Fall competition for Big West Conference sports cancelled; basketball continuing

The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced Thursday that the conference’s fall sport competition will not be held in 2020-21.

The announcement comes as coronavirus cases continue to surge throughout California and the United States.

Big West men’s and women’s basketball games, which are being held without fans in attendance, will continue as scheduled, officials said in a release.

Men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s indoor volleyball will not be held due to “extended consideration of the ongoing health and safety challenges affecting Big West campuses and communities, and the significant resources required to properly safeguard the health and well-being of all student-athletes,” the release from the conference said.

The decision does not impact fall sports unaffiliated with the Big West Conference, offcials said.

“Protecting the health and safety of our student-athletes and following public health guidelines are our top priorities,” Big West Commissioner Dan Butterly said. “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.”

“This was a difficult decision, particularly in light of the significant sacrifices our staff, coaches, student-athletes and their families have already made in the interest of public health,” said Chair of the Big West Board of Directors and UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman.

“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.”

A decision on the spring sports is expected in late January 2021, officials said.