Spring competition canceled for NCAA soccer programs in Big West Conference
NCAA Division I men’s and women’s soccer teams in the Big West Conference will not get to play an official season this spring.
The Big West announced on Thursday that the conference will not be rescheduling its fall sports competition for 2021. Fall sports were initially postponed back in July for the remainder of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the potential for rescheduling.
However, the tentative plan for rescheduling has been nixed by the Big West’s Board of Directors, as a result of: “ongoing health and safety challenges affecting Big West campuses and communities, and the significant resources required to properly safeguard the health and well-being of all student-athletes.”
Big West membership includes the University of Hawaii along with 10 California institutions: Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton, CSUN, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara.
The conference produced an NCAA College Cup champion in 2006, when UC Santa Barbara won it all on the men’s side. The UCSB men’s program is consistently among the most competitive in the country, finishing the 2019 season ranked No. 11 in the RPI.
With this decision, the Big West joins the Ivy League among Division I conferences to elect not to reschedule fall sports for the spring.
See below for the full announcement from the Big West:
IRVINE, CA – The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced today that Big West fall sport competition will not be conducted in 2020-21.
The decision of the Board to not conduct men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s indoor volleyball for the 2020-21 academic year came after extended consideration of the ongoing health and safety challenges affecting Big West campuses and communities, and the significant resources required to properly safeguard the health and well-being of all student-athletes. This decision does not impact fall sports unaffiliated with the Big West Conference.
“Protecting the health and safety of our student-athletes and following public health guidelines are our top priorities,” Big West Commissioner Dan Butterly said. “Despite a strong desire to return our fall sport student-athletes to competition, the Board unanimously agreed that the resources and protocols needed to safely and equitably conduct fall, winter and spring sports seasons concurrently was not in line with those priorities nor in the best interests of our student-athletes and coaches.”
“This was a difficult decision, particularly in light of the significant sacrifices our staff, coaches, student-athletes and their families have already made in the interest of public health,” said Chair of the Big West Board of Directors and University of California, Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman. “While this decision is disappointing for many, the health and safety of Big West student-athletes, coaches, staff and the campus community continue to be the preeminent priorities for the
CEO’s of the conference’s 11 institutions.”
The Board also acknowledged it will continue to monitor and evaluate the current program of COVID-19 medical and safety protocols in men’s and women’s basketball. Basketball will guide a decision regarding a safe return to competition for Big West spring sports. That decision is expected by late January 2021.
As medical and scientific data rapidly evolves surrounding the pandemic, the conference will continue to monitor developments and will consider additional actions as needed.