BIG EAST cancels nonconference fall sports schedules

BIG+EAST+logo+at+Fiserv+Forum.+

Photo by Marquette Wire stock photo

BIG EAST logo at Fiserv Forum.

Following multiple other conferences’ initiatives regarding the fall sports season, the BIG EAST decided Thursday morning to cancel all nonconference schedules for fall sports.

This affects Marquette’s men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball programs. For now, there is no decision regarding men’s or women’s basketball.

“Due to the unprecedented and continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, BIG EAST fall sports schedules will not include any non-conference competition. No decision is being made at this time regarding BIG EAST fall sports conference competition and championships,” the press release said. “The BIG EAST will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions across the country and in BIG EAST communities and will provide further updates on dates and formats as appropriate.”

On June 8, the BIG EAST changed the format of the conference fall sports season for men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball. With this new format, the fall sports were split into two divisions — East and Midwest. The Midwest, which Marquette is in, comprises of Butler, Creighton, DePaul and Xavier. Soccer will be playing eight total games — a home and away game against each team in the division. Meanwhile, volleyball will play 16 matches, which is two matches less than normal.

The Big Ten concluded Thursday that the conference-only schedule will eliminate long-distance travel and allows for players and coaches to be tested for COVID-19 on a more regular basis. The Pac-12 also came to a similar conclusion.

However, the Ivy League was the first major conference to make any announcement about fall sports on Wednesday, choosing to forgo the fall sports season. The Ivy League Council of Presidents decided all fall sports, which includes football, will not be played at its eight private universities.

This is the first Division I conference to drop out of the 2020-21 college football season.

“With the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus, we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable level of risk, consistent with the policies that each of our schools is adopting as part of its reopening plans this fall,” the conference said in a statement.

Winter and spring sports “will be determined at a later date”, most likely in mid-July.

In March, the Ivy League was the first conference to cancel its men’s and women’s conference basketball tournaments. That later prompted other major conferences to follow suit, including the BIG EAST during halftime of the St. John’s and Creighton game.

Following the Ivy League’s announcement, the Big Ten, Pac-12, Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference all made their decisions Thursday. While the Big Ten and Pac-12 chose to have a conference-only schedule, the ACC and SEC will be delaying the start of fall sports until Sept. 1. This will affect soccer and field hockey, but not football and the impacted games could be rescheduled.

This story is developing.

This story was written by Zoe Comerford. She can be reached at isabel.comerford@marquette.edu or on Twitter @zoe_comerford.