BYU-Utah rivalry match ends: Pac-12 makes it official, canceling off-conference games in fall


PROVO – Cancel your plans for the state’s biggest college football rivalry on September 3.Utah’s opening game against BYU is over.

Just a day after the Big Ten made the same move, the Pac-12 formalized what has been reported as possible for a while, canceling all non-conference games in football, men’s and women’s football, and volleyball. feminine this fall.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those related to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in a statement released on Friday. “Our decisions have been and will be guided by science and data, and based on the trends and indicators of the past few days, it has become clear that we must allow ourselves maximum flexibility to plan and delay any movement to the next phase . return to play activities. ”

This decision doesn’t just affect BYU’s game against Utah; the Cougars were also scheduled to face Arizona State on September 13 in Tempe, Arizona, and finish the season on November 28 at Stanford.

In addition to BYU, Utah’s non-conference program included the enemy of FCS Montana State and a trip to Wyoming.

“Although we support the Pac-12 conference decision today to only play conference games this fall in football, volleyball and soccer, we are disappointed for our student athletes, coaches and fans Said Utah sport director Mark Harlan in a prepared statement. “We know it is particularly difficult to miss clashes of rivalry with BYU in these sports, and we look forward to continuing them as soon as possible.

“These are truly unprecedented times, and we are working diligently to determine the appropriate solutions while prioritizing the health and safety of everyone involved. Our conference and university leadership provided great support and direction, informed by leading health experts and data. We will work with colleagues from each of the non-conference institutions affected by today’s decision to postpone these contests, and will provide more information on our schedules and home events when they become available. “

Heather Gneiting of BYU tries to kill Utah’s Dani Drews and Berkeley Oblad in the Cougars’ 3-0 defeat to the Utes, Saturday December 7, 2019 during an NCAA tournament game at Smith Fieldhouse. (Photo: Courtesy: BYU Photo)

The state of Utah was originally scheduled to open the season on September 3 at home against Washington state. The Aggies were also scheduled to play in Washington on September 19, just before the bi-annual Latter-day Saints’ general conference weekend at BYU.

The Pac-12 has also given athletes the option of not participating in fall sports – if they are playing – while retaining scholarships and academic results at university.

The conference classified its current fall sports strategy as “in development” and said additional options could include a delayed start to the season. Additional details will be released by July 31.

After the announcement, Pac-12 also said that Scott had tested positive for COVID-19.

“After experiencing mild flu-like symptoms at the end of this week and out of caution, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has been tested for COVID-19,” said a statement from the league office. “The test for Commissioner Scott came back positive and, therefore, he quarantined himself in the direction of his position. Commissioner Scott continues to perform his duties remotely as usual. ”

With the decision, the BYU schedule lost three more opponents and fell to seven teams.

The Cougars, who have been playing as an independent FBS since 2011, currently have the following schedule:

  • 2 octobre vs Utah State
  • October 10 vs Missouri
  • October 16 against Houston
  • October 24 in northern Illinois
  • November 6 at Boise State
  • November 14 against the State of San Diego
  • November 21 against North Alabama

BYU’s contest with the Aggies – the Cougars’ other rivalry game in the state – remains safe (at least for now), according to a written statement from Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson. The league has contracted three games with BYU, which also has a game against the SEC (Missouri), one against the Mid-American Conference (Northern Illinois) and one against the American Athletic Conference (Houston).

“As has been the case since the start of the pandemic, we are fully engaged with our members and advisers on an almost daily basis to explore the myriad of potential scenarios around returning to competition,” said Thompson. “We were aware of this possibility and will continue to assess the appropriate decisions and the right timing in the future.

“The safety, health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and campus remains our top priority.”

BYU and Utah were also scheduled to meet in women’s soccer and volleyball, as they do every fall. These two dates, although they have not yet been announced, will obviously be suspended for the fall.

This is if schools play football – or any sport – at all.

The Ivy League announced Wednesday that it will suspend all fall competition until at least the end of the semester due to the new coronavirus pandemic. The class will be in session – although for some schools like Harvard it is strictly online – but, for all intents and purposes, no team will be competing on Ivy League campuses for the rest of 2020.

Other conferences are expected to follow suit, largely because the Ivy League was the first to cancel its conference basketball tournament in March – a move that was heavily criticized for days before other tournaments did not join the movement, including NCAA men’s and women’s basketball. tournament.

Non-Power Five Schools should collectively lose at least $ 110 million – perhaps up to $ 150 million – in revenue from payments guaranteed by Power Five Schools in a conference-only model, Dr. Patrick Rishe, Director of the sports affairs program at Washington University of St. Louis, told the Associated Press.

“I expect that each conference will progress to at least fewer matches. … And probably a conference model only, ”said Rishe. “If you cut back beyond that, what’s the point of running this sport in the fall?” You’d better try spring and develop a spring schedule only for the conference which can be challenged in less time, less travel, etc. ”

From the time the Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 until the launch of the NWSL Challenge Cup in Utah, no major professional team sport was played in the United States.

University sports still awaiting official restart

The wait may have become even longer.

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Josh Furlong

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