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BIG EAST Makes Fall Sports Announcement

VILLANOVA, Pa.—The BIG EAST Conference Board of Directors today announced that fall sports competition will not be conducted in 2020 due to the continuing COVID-19 global pandemic. The conference and its member institutions are continuing to evaluate the options for moving fall sports competition to the Spring. Further updates will be communicated at a later date as the situation surrounding a return to collegiate sports becomes clearer.
 
“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.”
 
Wednesday’s announcement affects all 11 Villanova varsity sports programs who compete during the fall season, including six sports who play the championship segments of their seasons in the BIG EAST (men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, volleyball). The BIG EAST cancelation coincides with Villanova’s decision to postpone its football season, in alignment with CAA Football suspending conference competition in fall 2020 and examining the possibility of conducting a football season in Spring 2021. Villanova Athletics has also canceled the Fall non-championship schedules for golf, rowing, men’s tennis and women’s tennis.
 
“As competitors the decision to cancel our fall sports programming is heartbreaking for our entire Athletic Department and came after months of deliberation and exhaustive scenario planning,” said Vice President and Director of AthleticsMark Jackson. “Ultimately, the priority of keeping our student-athletes, staff and community safe allowed us to arrive at the right decision. We will find a way to make the best of a difficult situation, and as we start the semester, I am comforted by the fact that we are surrounded by fantastic student-athletes, coaches and staff to help guide us through these unprecedented times.”
 
The situation regarding returning to any type of athletic competition on college campuses remains fluid. Villanova Athletics is working closely with campus leadership, public health authorities and its conference partners to identify a course of action that maintains the health and safety of student-athletes, athletics staff and the community. The department is currently evaluating the opportunities for student-athletes to interact with their coaches and receive athletic instruction upon returning to campus.
 
The BIG EAST COVID Task Force will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions across the country and in BIG EAST communities.  Decisions on winter and spring sports schedules will be made at a later time.  
 
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