Big West delays fall athletics decision as window is closing
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Big West delays fall athletics decision as window is closing

Tick, tick, tick …

Even though the clock is running out on decisions regarding the college fall sports season, Big West Conference officials said Monday they need more time to decide on the scope of the 2020 athletic calendar.

From this vantage point, the delay is not good news.

“Back on June 15 … the board of directors noted that it would put out an update regarding the 2020 fall sports season by no later than July 20,” explained a press release from BWC Assistant Commissioner of Communications Mike Villamor.

“The board (Monday) announced that it will move that (decision) to no later than Aug. 1.”

Meanwhile, fall sports that include soccer, golf, tennis, cross country and volleyball twist in the wind.

At UC Davis, Director of Athletics Kevin Blue told me that certain student-athlete activities, including football workouts, continue but “not as we normally would be conducting activity.”

Blue added: “Meetings (continued to be) virtual only, in-person activity will continue to be physically distanced and individualized. We are strictly adhering to public health guidelines.”

Testing at UCD caught one COVID-19 positive case last month and, through last week, no others have turned up as Aggies must go through daily checks in order to participate in sports sessions.

The Big Sky football circuit, whose membership includes UCD, has not made an announcement about the fate of the 2020 gridiron campaign. Curiously, however, it moved its virtual Football Kickoff event up one week to Thursday and Friday.

As previously noted in this space, it makes me wonder if the move is designed to allow for the unencumbered publicity for preseason polls and all-Big Sky teams, and a few days of coaches and players talking football, before the conference is forced to alter the start of the season, or cancel it altogether.

Even NCAA President Mark Emmert explained last Thursday that college sports are at the mercy of COVID-19. The recent national upswing in cases led to Emmert’s ominous weigh-in:

“The data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”

Villamor, in his release, said conference membership “continues to meet and assess the current status of COVID-19, both nationally and across the Big West footprint. We are being diligent in our approach focused on student-athlete safety and well-being, testing capabilities, medical and facility protocols.” Villamor says “many factors” are coming into play.

A big chunk of the state’s athletic world was put on hold with the news Monday that the California Interscholastic Federation shrank three sports seasons into two and delayed the opening of prep competition until December and January.

Even Sac-Joaquin Section Associate Commission Will DeBoard admitted in a Monday Zoom media gathering that coronavirus status still holds that deferred start hostage. If the numbers don’t improve, high school sports this year could completely collapse.

Not what you wanted to hear, huh?

— Reach Davis Enterprise sports editor Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or call 530-320-4456. Also, follow him on Twitter: @BGsportsinDavis.

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