WAC postpones fall sports competition

Staff Writer
Stephenville Empire-Tribune

Special to the E-T

DENVER — In consideration of the global COVID-19 pandemic and challenges faced by its member institutions, the Western Athletic Conference Board of Directors voted on Wednesday to suspend all fall championship and non-championship athletics competition through the end of the calendar year.

Tarleton is in its first year as a member of the WAC and NCAA Division I. The Texans have three fall sports sponsored by the WAC: volleyball and men's and women's cross country. Women's golf and tennis can begin competition as early as Jan. 1.

"It obviously was a difficult decision, and not one made lightly," said WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd. "But it was one made after extensive discussion and consideration of all relevant factors as well as input from conference administrators and the Medical Advisory Committee. The health and safety of our student-athletes, the many others associated with our athletics programs and all those in our campus environments always will be the highest priority."

"The Board recognizes the disappointment felt by our student-athletes, coaches, and fans, but it believes the decision is in the best interest of all concerned," said Board Chair, Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J.

The fall conference championship sports affected are men's and women's cross country, volleyball and men's and women's soccer. Contingent on the NCAA fall championships being moved to the spring and if feasible, the WAC will conduct the respective sports during the same time frame.

The decision also affects the non-championship portion of the schedule for men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, baseball, and softball, with Jan. 1 set as the earliest opportunity for competition in these sports.

Men's and women's basketball and men's and women's swimming and diving competition will be postponed through the end of October pending Board discussion on winter athletics competition.

Affiliate members remain under the jurisdiction of institutional discretion when it comes to determining a safe return to competition.

Conditioning, strength training and other practice opportunities in all sports will be permitted per institutional discretion.