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Pac-12 cancels all spring sports through end of academic year; team activities on hold until March 29

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) University of Utah coach Kyle Whittingham at the first day of spring football practice in Salt Lake City on Monday March 4, 2019.

The Pac-12 announced on Saturday afternoon that all sports for the remainder of the academic year have been canceled in the face of Coronavirus fears.

This echoes a Thursday announcement from the league, canceling the remainder of the men’s basketball conference tournament, plus all sports competitions and championships until further notice. The ‘until further notice’ part was essentially an indefinite suspension, not a full cancelation.

The NCAA on Thursday canceled the NCAA Tournament for both genders, plus all winter and spring NCAA championships.

One could argue, though, that the Pac-12 buried the lede on Saturday.

At the bottom of its press release, the Pac-12 announced its decision to ‘prohibit all organized team athletically-related activities until at least March 29, at which time it will revisit this decision.’

As far as the University of Utah goes, prohibiting all team activities means there will be no practice by any team until at least March 29. That includes football, which opened spring practice on March 2, held three sessions, took last week off for spring break, and was scheduled to return to practice on Tuesday for the fourth of 15 sessions.

Utah announced on Friday that all scheduled athletics competitions — conference or non-conference, home or away — have been canceled, effective immediately, until further notice. The school was already set to move to online classes beginning Monday, which means no students were going to be on campus for potential practices anyway.

The big question late Friday in the wake of Utah canceling spring practice until further notice was whether or not the Utes, and other canceled spring practices across the country, would get those practice days back at some point. That ultimately happening remains to be seen, but we now know it is not happening for at least two weeks.

Frankly, head coach Kyle Whittingham’s team needs every practice rep it can get, and can’t afford to be leaving any days on the table. Utah is trying to figure out who its starting quarterback will be as a spring/summer competition between Jake Bentley and Cam Redding is just underway.

The Utes also have sizeable question marks at various spots within Morgan Scalley’s defense, which lost nine starters from a unit that was mostly-dominant during an 11-3 season that included a second straight Pac-12 South title and subsequent trip to the Pac-12 championship game.

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