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Big Sky Conference, WAC call off all fall sports competition

All fall sports competition in the Big Sky Conference, as well as the Western Athletic Conference, will be postponed, both leagues announced.
Courtesy Robert Casey, Weber State

SALT LAKE CITY — There won’t be any sports competitions this fall in either the Big Sky Conference or Western Athletic Conference due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both leagues made their announcements Thursday and are looking at the possibility of moving fall competition to the spring. It impacts four Utah colleges: Weber State and Southern Utah in the Big Sky, and Utah Valley and Dixie State in the WAC.

The Big Sky had previously announced it would postpone the league’s conference competition in football this fall, and Thursday’s news confirms there won’t be any nonconference play in any sport. The decision also impacts Big Sky competition in sports like men’s and women’s cross-country, soccer and volleyball that compete for their championships in the fall, as well as those in their nonchampionship portion of the season, including men’s and women’s golf, softball, men’s and women’s tennis.

“While I am confident that our conference is making the right decision for the health and safety of our student-athletes, it breaks my heart knowing how disappointing this will be to all of them who were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to compete this fall,” Big Sky commissioner Tom Wistrcill said in a statement. “Our efforts in the conference office now will focus on doing everything within our power to make their spring season the best that it possibly can be, which includes advocating for their NCAA championships to be held then.”

The Big Sky punted making a decision on when the league’s winter sports — men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field — could start competition.

The WAC’s fall championship sports impacted include men’s and women’s cross-country, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer. The league also said the earliest possible competition date for sports in the nonchampionship portion of their season is Jan. 1, 2021, affecting men’s and women’s golf, baseball, and softball.

The WAC will discuss winter athletics competition at a later date, while saying competition in men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s swimming and diving competition will be postponed through the end of October.

“It obviously was a difficult decision, and not one made lightly,” WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd said in a statement. “But it was one made after extensive discussion and consideration of all relevant factors as well as input from conference administrators and the medical advisory committee. The health and safety of our student-athletes, the many others associated with our athletics programs and all those in our campus environments always will be the highest priority.”