Big East cancels fall sports schedule

NEW YORK — The Big East Conference on Wednesday announced that it is canceling its fall sports schedule.

The decision comes a day after the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences also decided to scrap fall sports until 2021. The Big 12 announced Wednesday that it would attempt to play football in the fall, ESPN reported.

The Big East, founded in1979, has 11 members.

“The decision to not hold fall sports competition was not made lightly,” Peter M. Donohue, chairman of the Big East board of directors, said in a statement. “Athletics play an integral role in the student, alumni and fan experience at each of our institutions, and we were all hoping to allow the fall seasons to move forward. However, given the guidance of the Big East COVID-19 Task Force, this decision, while disappointing, was made with the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff in mind. The well-being of our community members are, and will continue to be, our priority and focus.” 

The sports affected include men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and field hockey. Athletes will be allowed to participate in team activities, such as practices, strength and conditioning sessions, and team meetings, conference officials said.

Sports that were canceled during the spring -- baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s tennis -- will not be played in the fall, the statement said.

The Big East had originally moved to a conference-only schedule in the fall, the Connecticut Post reported.

“This very difficult decision came after an exhaustive review by our presidents and athletics directors and followed consideration of NCAA guidance, COVID-19 case counts and trend lines nationally and in Big East communities, and the many unknowns surrounding testing availability, turnaround time and travel restrictions in our 11 locales,” Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman said in the Big East statement.

The conference will assess alternative options to allow fall sports to be played in the spring.

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