WAC announces cancellation of 2020 fall sports

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The Western Athletic Conference announced the cancellation of all fall sports in a press release on Thursday, Aug. 13.

The decision cancels sports through the end of this calendar year and will impact men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer. Men’s and women’s basketball will be postponed through the end of October and the WAC and member institutions will continue to evaluate a plan to resume those sports moving forward.

“Our student-athletes, coaches, and staff have been preparing to compete,” said Jared Sumison, Utah Valley University’s athletic director. “While we are disappointed in this announcement, we understand the magnitude of the situation and the need for caution. Our focus will continue to be on the academic success and the health and safety of our student-athletes as we look forward to competing as soon as possible.”

Of the impacted teams at Utah Valley University, women’s soccer was the only one to have released their 2020 schedule. They were scheduled to play Utah State in their home opener on Thursday, Sept. 10.

“I feel terrible for our players,” said UVU women’s soccer coach Chris Lemay. “They want to play and compete, I want to coach them and watch them succeed. The minute that we are able to take the field in a safe environment, we will be ready.”

Should the NCAA elect to hold championships for canceled sports sometime in the spring, the WAC will conduct a season at that time as well.

“It was obviously a difficult decision, and not made lightly,” WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd was quoted as saying in the release. “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.”

The WAC is just another domino to fall in what has been a week full of setbacks for collegiate athletics. The Mountain West announced on Monday the cancellation of all fall sports, including football. They were followed on Tuesday by the Big 10 and the Pac-12 — which includes the University of Utah. Fellow WAC-member New Mexico State opted on Wednesday to postpone their football season, which competes as an FBS Division-I independent.