The Big West Board of Directors announced today the unanimous approval of a measure to allow each Big West member school to exercise institutional discretion with regard to fan attendance at spring sporting events.
The University of Hawaii has not announced what they plan to do as all UH sporting events remain closed to fans.
In the fall, the Board voted to prohibit spectators at basketball and other sporting events, but indicated they would revisit the issue as new data became available. As gathering protocols have evolved at a faster pace and vaccines have become more readily available, each Big West institution will now have the freedom to develop attendance policies that may grant fans access to venues on a limited basis as federal, state, local and campus COVID-19 protocols allow.
“As we continue to make progress in the fight against the pandemic, it has become clear that our individual institutions are in the best position to adapt to changing circumstances and local conditions, while also continuing to prioritize the health of our student-athletes and their supporters,” said chair of the Big West Board of Directors and University of California, Irvine chancellor Howard Gillman. “We are hopeful for the future, but as a group we remain mindful that risks to public health are still serious, and we remain committed to preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
“Although policies and procedures will vary from place to place, all 11 Big West institutions remain committed to protecting the health, safety and welfare of our student-athletes,” Big West Commissioner Dan Butterly said. “Based on the best guidance from university leadership and public health officials, each institution will be able to assess conditions on the ground and determine the best course of action. With case counts diminishing and outdoor sports presenting a lower risk of spread, we remain cautiously optimistic and are pleased to welcome fans back to venues where it is possible to provide a safe environment for both student-athletes and fans alike.”
As medical and scientific data rapidly evolves surrounding the pandemic, the conference will continue to monitor developments and will consider additional actions as needed.
About the Big West
The Big West Conference was formed in 1969 and is a member of NCAA Division I with 11 academically and athletically prominent institutions consisting of Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton, CSUN, Hawai‘i, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara.
The conference sponsors 18 sports at the NCAA Division I level: baseball, softball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s volleyball, women’s beach volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field and women’s water polo. For more information, visit BigWest.org or follow the Big West Conference on Twitter @BigWestSports and @BigWestHoops.