The Big East joined the growing list of conferences not playing sports in the fall, as the conference announced Wednesday that men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball, and field hockey won’t be contested.
“This very difficult decision came after an exhaustive review by our Presidents and Athletic 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,” said Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman in a statement. “We take pride in the high-level competition and experiences we provide to our fall sports student-athletes, and we share their deep disappointment that this will not be a normal year. Our plans for men’s and women’s basketball and other sports are unaffected at this time.”
Teams will still be allowed to practice and have team activities that are consistent with individual campus policies.
"This is the right decision for our student-athletes," said Xavier University Vice President and Director of Athletics Greg Christopher in a news release. "Planning, exploring various options and an attempt to play fall sports has been our focus for several weeks. As much as we all want our teams to compete, our top priority is the health and safety of our student-athletes and everyone in our programs. That was the consistent theme of the ongoing conversations among the BIG EAST presidents and athletic directors."
No decision has been made yet on any potential impact on winter sports in the Big East.
For Xavier, that list includes men's and women's basketball, men's and women's swimming and men's and women's indoor track and field.
“The decision to not hold fall sports competition was not made lightly,” said chair of the BIG EAST Board of Directors and Villanova University President the Reverend Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD. “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 conference hopes to resume fall sports sometime in the spring.