Yesterday, the BIG EAST Conference and its member institutions announced that, due to the unprecedented and continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, 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. “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 include: 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.
More about the BIG EAST
The BIG EAST Conference is an association of 11 nationally prominent colleges and universities that foster healthy athletic competition, community service and the pursuit of excellence in academic environments. The athletic programs of BIG EAST institutions provide national-caliber participation opportunities for more than 4,100 student-athletes on over 200 men’s and women’s teams in 22 sports.
Established in 1979 and headquartered in New York City, the BIG EAST’s members are located in eight of the country’s top 36 largest media markets and include Butler University, University of Connecticut, Creighton University, DePaul University, Georgetown University, Marquette University, Providence College, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University, Villanova University and Xavier University.
For more information, visit www.bigeast.com.