Pac-12 Unanimously Votes to Postpone All Fall Sports

The+University+of+Utah%27s+Football+Team+stormed+onto+the+field+in+an+NCAA+Football+game+vs.+BYU+at+Rice-Eccles+Stadium+in+Salt+Lake+City%2C+UT+on+Saturday+November+24%2C+2018.%28Photo+by+Curtis+Lin+%7C+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

The University of Utah's Football Team stormed onto the field in an NCAA Football game vs. BYU at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday November 24, 2018.(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

On Tuesday, August 11, the Pac-12 CEO group announced the decision to cancel all fall sports. This comes in response to the lingering questions and concerns surrounding COVID-19, and how the conference could effectively and safely carry out athletic events.

All of the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors understand the importance of this decision, and the disappointment it will create for our student-athletes, the coaches, support staff and all of our fans,” said Michael H. Schill, president of the University of Oregon, in the Pac-12’s official statement. “Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the New Year.”

Many athletes, including University of Utah quarterback Jake Bentley, have voiced their disappointment on social media as they would prefer to play despite COVID-19. Several big names including Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal and President Donald Trump have even taken to social media to voice their support of the #WeWantToPlay movement.

Despite many in support of a fall season, college stadiums and arenas will remain vacant while conferences attempt to create a plan where fall sports may potentially take place in the spring. With college football generating so much revenue, there is no doubt conference executives will be doing everything they can to make some sort of season happen. 

Amid cancellation, the Pac-12 has guaranteed scholarships for all student athletes and is encouraging the NCAA to grant students who opt out of competition this year an additional year of athletic eligibility. 

 “Our attention will continue to focus on providing for the academic, emotional and physical well-being of our student-athletes,” said the U’s Athletics Director, Mark Harlan, in his official statement.

“They will continue to prepare for their upcoming academic semester, and they will continue to have the same access to our first-class medical care, mental health care, academic support, nutrition and meals and scholarship support. We are also working closely with the Pac-12 and the NCAA to address questions regarding eligibility.”

Season ticket holders for Utah football have three options according to Harlan. Fans may get a full refund for the tickets they bought for the season. They can also designate the money they paid for their tickets to a taxable donation to the athletic department or apply the money towards season tickets for the 2021 season. No matter what option fans choose, they will still retain their tickets — contrary to policies put in place at other schools where the season has been canceled.

The Pac-12’s decision also comes just hours after the Big Ten announced they would postpone their fall sports seasons. Both conferences have committed to finding resolutions that will lead to a resumption in the spring of 2021. 

 

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