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College Athletics: Big Sky scuttles rest of fall sports schedule over COVID-19
College Athletics

College Athletics: Big Sky scuttles rest of fall sports schedule over COVID-19

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FARMINGTON, Utah — The Big Sky Conference has voted to postpone all fall sports competition until the spring because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision follows the Big Sky’s postponement of fall football on Aug. 6 when the league became one of the first in the nation to scuttle the sport because of the virus that has claimed more than 160,000 lives in the United States and about 750,000 worldwide.

The other Big Sky sports that are now postponed are men’s and women’s cross country, soccer and volleyball as well as men’s and women’s golf, softball and men’s and women’s tennis.

“While I am confident that our conference is making the right decision for the health and safety of our student-athletes, it breaks my heart knowing how disappointing this will be to all of them who were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to compete this fall,” Big Sky Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said.

Members of the Big Sky Conference are Eastern Washington, Idaho, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State, Southern Utah and Weber State.

Big Sky schools may continue with permissible athletics activities at their discretion while abiding by NCAA legislation, campus policies, and local and state regulations, the league said.

The conference’s Presidents’ Council convened Wednesday to affirm the recommendation from its athletic directors to postpone the entire fall sports calendar.

“We thank them for their efforts and appreciate the desire to compete but most importantly, keep us safe,” said Northern Colorado soccer coach Tim Barrera.

Decisions regarding the Big Sky’s winter sports (men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field) will be made at a later date.

Frontier Conference moves NAIA football to spring

WHITEFISH, Mont. — The Montana schools in the NAIA Frontier Conference are moving their football schedule to the spring, league Commissioner Kent Paulson announced Thursday, two days before practice was to begin.

The league’s council of presidents made the decision less than a week after the league moved its volleyball schedule to the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but reaffirmed plans for its five Montana teams to play football this fall.

The league’s teams include Carroll College, Montana State-Northern, Montana Tech, Montana Western and Rocky Mountain College in Montana, along with Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon and the College of Idaho. The Oregon and Idaho teams had already announced plans to play football in the spring.

“This announcement today will allow for all eight teams to once again operate collectively as a conference in the spring and participate in a schedule providing that safety standards allow for play,” Paulson said in a statement.

The NAIA has moved its football and volleyball championships to the spring.

“We are incredibly disappointed not only for our student athletes but for our Fighting Saints followers,” Carroll College athletic director Charlie Gross said. “A lot of preparation by the student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, and administration had gone into being ready to kick off the season with official practice this Saturday. The safety and well-being of our students and campus community are of the utmost importance. We still feel fortunate to be starting classes in person on Monday.”

At this time, Frontier Conference teams will participate in cross country and golf this fall, Paulson said.

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