The decision was made after consultation with athletics directors and with the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee, who expressed concerns with moving forward with contact practice. The report and updated guidelines of the Committee can be found here , and the Conference’s full release can be found here.
The Conference also announced that when conditions improve, it would consider a return to competition for impacted sports after January 1, 2021.
The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and community has been and always will be our top priority.
At this point, it has become apparent that competing this fall would introduce undue risk in terms of the health and safety of participants and the spread of the virus in the communities in which competitions were scheduled to take place. Beyond the widespread prevalence of COVID-19 across our country right now, there are also still many unknowns with respect to the potential long-term health implications of the virus for those who contract it, even for young people who may not experience severe symptoms in the short term.
I am proud of the rigorous safety protocols we have implemented for the student-athletes who have returned to train in our athletics facilities thus far. Even with those protocols in place, however, we are still not prepared to allow our programs to take the next step of moving to the level of physical contact and equipment sharing needed to prepare to compete safely. Additionally, the logistical challenges of adhering to the current safety protocols and best practices when traveling and competing against others are still too great to overcome.
Today’s decision is disappointing for many people, but none more so than our student-athletes, who have worked so hard for so many years to reach this point in their athletics pursuits. I remain hopeful that we will find a way to create an opportunity for them to compete safely in the winter or spring.
For any student-athlete who chooses not to compete this year for reasons related to COVID-19, we will honor their existing athletics scholarship and will continue to provide them with access to our student-athlete support services to the greatest extent possible within campus, local, state, and federal guidelines.