On Thursday afternoon, the Big 12 Conference announced that due to the current Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the league had suspended organized team activities, including out-of-season practices, starting on Friday, March 13 and extending to Sunday, March 29. The Big 12 has since taken that precautionary action even further, announcing on Friday afternoon that the league has now cancelled conference and non-conference competitions throughout the remainder of the academic year.
“Due to the on-going developments related to COVID-19 the Big 12 Conference announces that all organized team activities whether organized or voluntary, including team and individual practices, meetings, and other organized gatherings, have been suspended until March 29 and will be re-evaluated at that time,” Big 12 senior associate commissioner Bob Burda said in a statement. “In addition, all conference and non-conference competitions are cancelled through the end of the academic year, including spring sports that compete beyond the academic year.”
However, for the student-athletes who participate in the number of spring sports, there is a bit of a silver lining, as the NCAA has reportedly agreed to grant eligibility relief. What exactly this relief entails isn’t clear just yet, but it likely means student-athletes will be granted an additional year of eligibility.
Division I Council Coordination Committee agrees eligibility relief is appropriate for spring sports: pic.twitter.com/u7hwYOyTDV— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) March 13, 2020
Furthermore, per Jeff Goodman, the NCAA is also considering ant potential eligibility options for winter sports.
In the recent days, winter sports athletes such as basketball players were most notably and publicly impacted by the cancellations, as conference tournaments were cancelled with the exception of a handful of games, and the NCAA Tournament was cancelled in its entirety.
“We spent today talking to our coaches and as many of the student-athletes and teams as possible. I thought it was imperative that we shared with them all of the facts as we know them and what the next steps are,” Texas Vice President and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said in a statement.” It’s an extremely difficult time for them, and we certainly share their pain and disappointment. But it’s also important for them to understand the magnitude of the situation and that these decisions are being made in the best interest of everyone’s health, safety and well-being. It is an unprecedented time in college athletics and it’s imperative we make every effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“The most significant news of the day came this evening when, in addition to the Big 12’s previously announced suspension of athletics activities until March 29, the conference also decided to cancel all athletic competition for the remainder of the spring season,” Del Conte added. “It was a hard piece of news to share with our teams since they’ve worked so hard in preparation for this year. The situation is still fluid as practices and other team activities remain suspended until March 29, but will be re-evaluated by the Big 12 at that time. Additionally, the NCAA is in discussion on how they’ll handle eligibility status for current winter and spring sports student-athletes.”