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Nate Edwards, BYU Photo, File

WCC joins WAC in postponing fall sports start to late September

By Sean Walker, | Posted - Jul. 16, 2020 at 12:39 p.m.

PROVO — BYU’s football season is still looking for five dates to fill, including the first month of the season.

The Cougars’ Olympic sports won’t begin until late September, either — if at all.

The West Coast Conference, under the direction of the league’s council of university presidents, announced the postponement or cancellation of all fall sports prior to Sept. 24, the WCC said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

The move primarily affects BYU’s nonconference play in women’s soccer, volleyball, cross country, golf and softball, which had a brief fall season scheduled after most of the 2020 spring season was canceled by the NCAA. It does not necessarily cancel currently scheduled games outside of WCC play.

“As we make plans for our fall athletic seasons, we appreciate the dialog and attention the WCC has gone through to review the variety of circumstances at member schools and consider the safety of our student-athletes,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “We are in the process of working on our fall sports schedules given the parameters provided by the WCC and appreciate the flexibility to schedule non-conference competition with other universities.”

Several BYU Olympic sports had already lost nonconference games when the Pac-12 canceled them with a sweeping announcement Friday. Those cancellations included the annual women’s soccer and volleyball matches with rival Utah.

In the decision, the WCC did not prevent in-person voluntary and mandatory workouts on school campuses through the early fall.

“While difficult, this is a necessary move to ensure we are providing the safest environment for our programs to compete,” WCC commissioner Gloria Nevarez said in a statement. “We have worked on the plans for a variety of circumstances and believe, with our actions guided by information and science, this is the responsible decision at this time.

“We will continue to evaluate our best path moving forward with the health and safety of everyone involved as the guiding principle of our discussions.”

The WCC does not sponsor football, where BYU plays as an FBS independent. Only one other schools fields a varsity football program — San Diego, which competes in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League in the Football Championship Subdivision.

The Western Athletic Conference announced a similar move Wednesday, noting that all games of member institutions will be postponed until at least Sept. 10 (women’s soccer) and Sept. 16 (men’s soccer and volleyball).

Utah Valley University competes in the WAC, and Dixie State is in its first year in the league while transitioning to Division I competition.

WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd said the decision was made following consultation with the league’s medical advisory group and contingency planning group, which meet weekly.

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