The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced on Thursday that fall sport competition will not take place during the 2020-21 year. The decision to not conduct men and women’s cross country, men and women’s soccer and women’s indoor volleyball took place after extended consideration of the ongoing health and safety challenges affecting Big West campuses, their communities, and the significant resources required to properly safeguard the health and well-being of all student-athletes.

This announcement pertains to fall sports affiliated with the Big West Conference only.

“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 conference’s 11 institutions.”

Conference officials will continue to monitor and evaluate the current program of medical and safety protocols for men and women’s basketball since this will guide a decision, expected by late January, regarding a safe return to competition for Big West spring sports.

The Big West Conference will continue to monitor developments and consider additional actions as medical and scientific data evolves during this pandemic.

– Erik Bankston