West Coast Conference postpones all fall sports to 2021

The WCC delays the start to fall sports competition until Sept. 24
The WCC delays the start to fall sports competition until Sept. 24

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — The West Coast Conference has postponed all fall competition to spring 2021.

The move comes just hours after the Big Sky Conference made the same decision.

The WCC Presidents’ Council make the decision after consulting with the Conference’s 10 athletic directors, including Mike Roth of Gonzaga.

“The welfare of the great student-athletes of the West Coast Conference is and always will be the guiding principle in our discussions and why we ultimately arrived at this difficult decision,” said University of San Diego President James T. Harris, the chair of the WCC Presidents’ Council. “The fall term for everyone associated with our member institutions will be different. We understand this and will continue to plan for a safe return to campus and a safe return to athletic competition in the WCC at the appropriate time.”

The WCC said it remains fully committed and is continuing work with campus leadership to ensure a safe environment to conduct the 2020-21 men’s and women’s basketball seasons in the winter.

The conference intends to explore various models for conducting WCC competition in the fall sports of men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball in the spring of 2021.

The decision to postpone WCC fall sports seasons and championships does not preclude member institutions from scheduling non-conference competitions in low risk sports in the fall.

“We empathize with our student-athletes,” said Nevarez. “This is a difficult decision, but it is the responsible decision based on the available information associated with conducting competition in the current environment. WCC programs compete for national titles and we never want to take these opportunities away. However, health and safety will always be paramount in guiding our decisions. We must ensure our student-athletes have a safe environment to compete and meet the NCAA’s guidelines for Resocialization of Collegiate Sport, along with current federal, state and local health and safety measures in place at each member institution. We are committed to providing the safeguards to conduct a men’s and women’s basketball season this winter. We want to get back to celebrating the  tremendous achievements of our programs as soon as we can, but we must first ensure we can compete in a safe manner.”

Roth, Director of Athletics at Gonzaga, issued the following statement:

“Gonzaga Athletics supports the West Coast Conference decision to postpone fall sports, and we share in the disappointment with our student-athletes, coaches and staff. They have put in so much work and have shown so much patience through all of this that they deserve our gratitude. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought major challenges and uncertainty, which has created difficult decisions. Health and safety are paramount to the process, and we strive to take all aspects of the student-athlete experience into consideration. We believe that, with guidance from health officials and medical experts, this is the right call at this time. We know that doesn’t make it any easier for our programs, but the well-being of student-athletes will remain our top priority. We are looking forward to resuming athletic competition when it is safe to do so, and we want to commend WCC Commissioner Gloria Nevarez and the university presidents for their leadership during this time.”

RELATED: Big Sky Conference postpones all fall sports to spring 2021