WCC postpones fall sports, canceling four sport seasons at BYU

(Jaren Wilkey | BYU) BYU Freshman Kennedy Redding spikes the ball in the first set. The BYU Women's Volleyball Team was defeated by Kentucky 3-2 on Friday December 8, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum during the 3rd Round of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championships.

As BYU football keeps fighting for a season, all other Cougar sports will be put on hold this fall.

The West Coast Conference decided to postpone all conference fall competition due to COVID-19 health concerns.

The decision was made by the WCC's Presidents' Council, in consultation with the league's 10 athletic directors and Commissioner Gloria Nevarez, following several week's-worth of discussions.

“We empathize with our student-athletes,” said Nevarez. “This is a difficult decision, but it is the responsible decision based on the available information associated with conducting competition in the current environment. WCC programs compete for national titles and we never want to take these opportunities away. However, health and safety will always be paramount in guiding our decisions.”

The WCC will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with campus leadership to determine a plan for the men's and women's basketball seasons in the winter.

The postponement does not preclude member institutions from scheduling nonconference games in low-risk sports in the fall. For BYU, that includes men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis.

“We must ensure our student-athletes have a safe environment to compete and meet the NCAA’s guidelines for Resocialization of Collegiate Sport, along with current federal, state and local health and safety measures in place at each member institution,” Nevarez said. “We are committed to providing the safeguards to conduct a men’s and women’s basketball season this winter. We want to get back to celebrating the tremendous achievements of our programs as soon as we can, but we must first ensure we can compete in a safe manner.”

The WCC’s latest decision does, however, affects men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball and women’s soccer. The league will look to move those seasons to the spring.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe expressed sadness for his student-athletes in a statement.

“We are also saddened for our loyal BYU fans across the country who love to watch the Cougars play; whether live in Provo, on the road, or on BYUtv,” Holmoe said. “Our student-athletes will miss the fans as much as they miss them. Our main focus going forward is to help our student-athletes manage the unique challenges they are facing and prepare for the opportunity when they can return to competition. We will be back — whenever it’s possible — ready to represent our beloved Bringham Young University.”

Last year, the men’s cross country team brought home the national championship, while women finished the season as national runner-ups; the women’s soccer team went into the national tournament as the only undefeated team and made their third trip to the tournament quarterfinals before falling to Stanford; and the women’s volleyball team also made their way to the NCAA Tournament, bowing out in the second round.

“I am devastated for our student-athletes and staff who have put in so much work this year in preparation for the fall season,” women’s volleyball coach Heather Olmstead said. “Although we don’t know what the future holds, I am certain our team will respond to this challenge and come out better from it.”