The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced today that Big West fall sport competition will not be conducted in the 2020-21 academic year.
The decision of the board to not conduct men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s indoor volleyball for the 2020-21 academic year came after 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. This decision does not impact fall sports unaffiliated with the Big West Conference.
“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 University of California, 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.”
The Board also acknowledged it will continue to monitor and evaluate the current program of COVID-19 medical and safety protocols in men’s and women’s basketball. Basketball will guide a decision regarding a safe return to competition for Big West spring sports. That decision is expected by late January 2021.
As medical and scientific data rapidly evolves surrounding the pandemic, the conference will continue to monitor developments and will consider additional actions as needed.