By JOSH FRIEDMAN
The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced Thursday it has canceled fall sports, which will result in the Cal Poly soccer, cross county and volleyball teams not engaging in formal competition for the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year.
Previously, the Big West Conference announced it had postponed the fall athletic season for the remainder of 2020. The conference has now decided not to move scheduled competition for men’s and women’s soccer; men’s and women’s cross country; and women’s indoor volleyball to the spring of 2021, citing public health concerns.
The decision does not impact Cal Poly’s football and basketball seasons.
In football, Cal Poly competes in the Big Sky Conference. Cal Poly is scheduled to play a delayed and shortened football season, starting on Feb. 27.
Meanwhile, basketball, which is considered a winter sport is already underway. The men’s basketball season began on Nov. 27. Thus far, the Cal Poly men’s basketball team has played three games, and it has had one cancellation.
Women’s basketball began on Nov. 25. Thus far, the Cal Poly women’s team has only played two games.
Big West officials say they will continue to monitor and evaluate the medical and safety protocols for basketball. The manner in which the basketball season unfolds will guide the decision the conference makes on whether or not to allow spring sports, such as baseball and softball, to take place in 2021. The conference says it will likely make a decision on spring sports by late January.
“Protecting the health and safety of student-athletes and following public health guidelines are our top priorities,” Big West Commissioner Dan Butterly said in a statement. “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.”