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BYU indefinitely suspends all athletic events due to coronavirus pandemic, effective immediately

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BYU volleyball players form a circle at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.

Ivy Ceballo, Deseret News

PROVO — In a succession of measures, Brigham Young University ultimately suspended all athletic events indefinitely on Thursday, effective immediately, “due to the rapidly evolving circumstances related to the spread of COVID-19.”

BYU first on Thursday said all athletic events on campus would be closed to the public. Later the school announced it was suspending all home athletic events, which left the door open for Cougar teams to still compete on the road and at neutral sites.

By the evening, all were suspended.

“We have worked closely with the BYU administration and our affiliated conferences regarding the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “We realize this is a great disappointment to our student-athletes and coaches who have worked hard to represent themselves, their families and BYU at the highest levels, but fully support the current measures to protect the welfare of the BYU Athletics family and Cougar Nation. Our focus going forward is to help safeguard our student-athletes and assist them in managing this unique challenge in their lives.”

An hour or so after the NCAA announced that it was canceling the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments, BYU said it was suspending all athletic events on campus, effective immediately.

The first home event canceled was a scheduled West Coast Conference baseball game pitting BYU and Loyola Marymount on Thursday night. The NCAA also canceled all remaining winter and spring championships.

Before the suspension on all athletic events went into effect, BYU’s volleyball team was scheduled to board a flight to California Thursday afternoon, but those plans were canceled before the team left for the airport when the Pac-12 Conference announced it was suspending all athletic events.

Also before the final decision, BYU’s spring football practices had been canceled for the remainder of the week, as had a football coaches clinic scheduled Friday for high school and youth coaches featuring coach Andy Reid of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

It’s the latest news as concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak impact sporting events worldwide. On Thursday, several college conferences canceled their basketball tournaments and the Pac-12 halted all competition in every sport, one day after the NBA suspended its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the new coronavirus.

BYU Athletics will provide additional updates as available via BYUCougars.com and through its social media channels.