Irvine, California - The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced today that Big West fall sports competition will be postponed through the end of the calendar year. In making the decision, the Board recognized the continued serious challenges to health and safety on Big West campuses and communities impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
"Although I am heartbroken by the difficult decision of Big West Conference university presidents and chancellors to postpone fall sports competition, I wholeheartedly support the intent - to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our scholar-athletes, coaches, staff and others involved with the operation of our 23 sport programs," said Earl W. Edwards, UC San Diego Director of Athletics. "Until we see the trends associated with this pandemic turn favorable, the decision to place a hold on competition is the right thing to do. Nothing is more important than ensuring the scholar-athletes under our care are able to join their classmates this fall as part of the Return To Learn program in a safe and supportive environment."
This decision by Big West leadership will impact all UC San Diego intercollegiate athletic competitions, including those not competing as members of the Big West Conference – most notably, the men's water polo program that competes during the fall as a member of the Western Water Polo Association. A decision on the status of the upcoming basketball season will be determined as health and safety guidelines permit.
The postponement of fall competition does not impact the status of the UC San Diego athletic program's transition to NCAA Division I competition. The Tritons enter the first of a four-year transition period toward full Division I membership, which concludes in spring 2024. The program remains committed to fulfilling the purpose of its move to Division I: To elevate the student experience, strengthen alumni connections, increase community engagement and expand the university's national brand.
To read more about the impact of athletics on the scholar-athlete and general student experience, click here.
Additional clarification from the Big West Conference:
- The postponement of competition in conference-sponsored fall sports includes men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball.
- The fall competitive schedules for men's golf, women's golf, men's tennis, and women's tennis will also be postponed, as well as fall competition for sports in their non-traditional segment.
- Realizing that intercollegiate athletics' response to the COVID-19 pandemic remains very fluid, the Board noted a decision on whether fall sport competition would be feasible in the spring will be determined by the Board of Directors at a later date and be based on conditions and circumstances that are in the best interests of the student-athletes.
- The return to campus of student-athletes is allowed for Big West institutions but will be done at the discretion of each institution. On-campus athletic related activity will follow strict compliance with NCAA regulations, institutional policies, and public health guidelines.
- Big West winter sports of men's and women's basketball are not impacted by this decision. Both are currently scheduled to begin their competition seasons on November 10.
Health and safety of Big West student-athletes, coaches, staff and the campus community continue to be the preeminent priorities for the CEO's of the conference's 11 institutions. As medical and scientific data rapidly evolves surrounding the pandemic, the conference will continue to monitor developments and will consider additional actions as needed.