For the first time in the 130-year history of University of Colorado athletics, a fall season will not be played. The Pac-12 Conference CEO group of presidents and chancellors voted unanimously on Tuesday that all fall sports and the beginning of winter seasons are postponed through 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19.
The decision follows several days of uncertainty and concerns from Pac-12 student-athletes surrounding health and safety. Along with the BIG Ten Conference, who nixed its football season on Monday, the Pac-12 becomes the second Power 5 conference to put the football season on hold. Both conferences will then consider a spring return.
In addition to football, women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, cross country and golf are other culprits of postponement at Colorado. The multi-billion dollar revenue stream for colleges across the country will yield to health and safety be until at least 2021.
“The Pac-12 presidents and chancellors reached the decision today that we felt was best for the health and safety of our student-athletes,” said University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano. “We know the postponement of competition is painful for our fans, alumni, donors and, most of all, our student-athletes who have worked so hard to prepare for the season under extremely difficult circumstances. Intercollegiate sports are woven into the fabric of our campus life and Buff pride, and they provide us a common shared experience that unites our student body, fans and alumni from around the world.”
CU Athletic Director Rick George walked back his statement from July in which he told the CU community that “we’re ready to have a football season” in light of the Pac-12’s decision.
“The decision to postpone the fall sports seasons and to delay the start of the winter ones was not made in haste – but in light of current virus trends and the long term health impacts of COVID-19 remaining unknown, this was determined to be the best course of action for the health and safety of our student-athletes,” George said.
He remained optimistic of a return in the spring, assuring players that “we are committed to continuing to provide our student-athletes with academic support, access to medical care, comprehensive mental health resources, sport performance and nutritional support, as well as access to leadership and career development programming” during the fall.
Financial consequences of COVID-19 have already hit the Pac-12 with Stanford University cutting 11 varsity sports in July. In April, George said CU was not planning on cutting any sports, but George and CU head coaches did accept a pay cut for the 2020-21 year to combat the expected decrease in revenue.
While CU student-athletes and fans alike are forced to wait another four months for sports to (potentially) return, it is still possible a packed sports schedule will arrive in the spring.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kieran Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.