Concerns over the spread of COVID-19 and the cost of testing have caused the Big West Board of Directors to decide today that the conference will not conduct fall sports in 2020-21. Long Beach State women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country won’t have seasons until August at the earliest.
“While today’s decision is one we hoped would not be necessary, we understand the responsibility of the Big West Board of Directors,” Long Beach State Athletic Director Andy Fee said. “Right now our focus is supporting our fall sport student-athletes and helping them process what lies ahead. In the short term, we are focused on preparing them for final exams. My heart goes out to student-athletes, staff and coaches affected.”
Big West men’s and women’s basketball continues to compete this week with the conference schedule starting in about two weeks. Spring sports will have to wait until late January to learn their fate.
“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.”
“You knew this was a possibility with everything going on around the country but it still stings to hear it,” LBSU women’s soccer coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “I’m already planning our core value work we do in the spring because we can do it on Zoom. Hopefully we get some good news around Easter.”
Ingrassia has been telling his team to treat this season as a medical redshirt year that they get to train through.
“If you get an ACL injury you’re way worse off than you are right now,” Ingrassia said. “This is like a long injury but you get to train. If you change your mindset that you get to do things, I think it really helps.”
Fee added, “Along with the other 10 institutions in our conference, we will continue to evaluate the program of COVID-19 medical and safety protocols currently in place for men’s and women’s basketball, hoping that will guide us to a safe return to competition for Big West spring sports.”