Thursday the West Coast Conference (WCC) declared no WCC-sanctioned sporting events will be held before Sept. 24.
“With the health and safety of student-athletes paramount in all decisions, the West Coast Conference Presidents’ Council will delay the beginning of fall competition in all Conference sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” The WCC said. “WCC programs will not participate in any competition prior to Sept. 24, 2020.”
All fall sports within the conference that Gonzaga is part of will now have their season being pushed back. This includes men’s and women’s soccer, cross country and women’s volleyball.
This decision to move back the proceedings of fall sports in the conference was decided on by the WCC Presidents’ Council, which deliberated on this matter while reviewing other potential contingency plans as possibilities as well.
“While difficult, this is a necessary move to ensure we are providing the safest environment for our programs to compete,” said Gloria Nevarez commissioner of the West Coast Conference. “We have worked on 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 has yet to ban play of its affiliated schools’ sports teams with nonconference competition at the time of this initial decision. Dana O’Neil of The Athletic reported that the WCC still hopes that sports by the affiliated schools will still be played before Sept. 24, but only in the form of nonconference match-ups against local opponents.
GU sports that have their seasons in the spring but often participate in various nonconference competitions before Sept. 24 such as men’s and women’s golf, tennis and women’s rowing are at the moment still able to do so. But they are not allowed to compete in any conference match-ups before Sept. 24.
Practices and in-house training by WCC sanctioned teams have also not been prohibited at the time of the most recent decision, and teams are currently allowed to organize such activities for their players before Sept. 24 as long as they operate in accordance with the proper guidelines.
“In-person voluntary and mandatory athletically related activities outside of competition, including training and practices, may be conducted at the institution’s discretion in accordance with NCAA regulations and local health and safety guidelines,” the WCC said.
This latest decision by the WCC has no effect on the upcoming men’s and women’s basketball seasons.
The Presidents’ Council will continue to discuss the next steps for all of the WCC sports dynamically and they promise to keep the public updated in the future when it’s appropriate to do so.
“The welfare of student-athletes is of primary importance in all decisions,” The WCC said. “The Conference and its membership understand that providing a safe environment while dealing with this virus has an impact on each of our campus communities as well as our global community.”