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West Coast Conference Postpones Fall Sports for 2020

West Coast Conference Postpones Fall Sports for 2020

With the health and safety of student-athletes and everyone connected with the West Coast Conference guiding all discussions, the WCC has postponed all conference fall competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WCC Presidents' Council, in consultation with the Conference's 10 athletic directors and Commissioner Gloria Nevarez, made this decision following thorough discussion over the course of several weeks.

"The welfare of the great student-athletes of the West Coast Conference is and always will be the guiding principle in our discussions and why we ultimately arrived at this difficult decision," said University of San Diego President James T. Harris, the chair of the WCC Presidents' Council. "The fall term for everyone associated with our member institutions will be different. We understand this and will continue to plan for a safe return to campus and a safe return to athletic competition in the WCC at the appropriate time."

The WCC remains fully committed and continues to work closely with campus leadership on plans to ensure a safe environment to conduct the 2020-21 WCC men's and women's basketball seasons in the winter. The Conference intends to explore various models for conducting WCC competition in the fall sports of men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball in the spring of 2021. The WCC strongly supports efforts to encourage the National Collegiate Athletic Association to conduct fall NCAA championships in the spring.

The postponement of WCC fall sports seasons and championships does not preclude member institutions from scheduling non-conference competitions in low-risk sports in the fall.

"We empathize with our student-athletes," said Nevarez. "This is a difficult decision, but it is the responsible decision based on the available information associated with conducting competition in the current environment. WCC programs compete for national titles and we never want to take these opportunities away. However, health and safety will always be paramount in guiding our decisions. We must ensure our student-athletes have a safe environment to compete and meet the NCAA's guidelines for Resocialization of Collegiate Sport, along with current federal, state and local health and safety measures in place at each member institution. We are committed to providing the safeguards to conduct a men's and women's basketball season this winter. We want to get back to celebrating the tremendous achievements of our programs as soon as we can, but we must first ensure we can compete in a safe manner."

Discussions involving various scheduling models, gameday safety protocols and a timeline for WCC competition are ongoing and will be shared at the appropriate time.

Statements from USD Executive Director of Athletics, Bill McGillis:

“The health and safety of our scholar-athletes — as well as that of all coaches, staff, officials and other members of the USD and WCC communities — drove this decision made by the WCC Presidents’ Council and will remain the primary consideration in our decision-making as we move forward.

“I want all of our fall sport scholar-athletes who are affected by this decision to have the opportunity to compete during the spring semester, and we will strongly advocate both within the WCC and nationally for that opportunity.

“We are continuing to carefully monitor all guidelines provided by both the County and State, and we will communicate with our scholar-athletes and coaching staffs immediately upon determining the date on which we can begin fall activities and practice. We know that there are many questions that come with this decision, and we are committed to getting those answers to our USD Athletics community as soon as possible.”

“I'm proud of the perseverance of all of the Torero scholar-athletes and am very much looking forward to seeing every one of them when they return to San Diego and the USD campus.”

Statements from USD head coaches on the WCC announcement:

Volleyball

The Toreros looked to build on the success of 2019 after finishing 25-6 on the season and 17-1 in conference to earn their 11th WCC title in program history. USD also made its 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, winning a first-round match against Washington State. San Diego, led by last year's WCC Coach of the Year, Jennifer Petrie, was set to return five starters from 2019 as well as five veterans who have seen significant playing time. The Toreros also added five talented freshmen.

"I firmly stand behind the tough decision the WCC has made to postpone our fall volleyball season.  Even with the excitement and desire to pursue a championship season, my top priority is the health and safety of our scholar-athletes. When the time is right, we will return to play and once again rise to the challenge of competing against the top programs in the country."

— Head Coach Jennifer Petrie

Men's Soccer

After posting its most wins in a season (12) since 2012 last year, USD men's soccer has aspirations for a 10th conference championship in program history if a season is played this spring. Under the direction of third-year head coach Brian Quinn, the Toreros have finished in the top-four of the conference standings in each of the last two seasons.

"It's a decision that is totally in the best interests of our scholar-athletes. We all want to practice and play but the reality is there are too many unknown factors that are outside of anyone's control at this time to forge forward with conference play. I am saddened for all of our scholar-athletes.

I also commend our University President James Harris and Executive Director of Athletics Bill McGillis for their amazing transparency and leadership to the coaches, players and families during this incredibly stressful time. We will sit down and plan our training schedule for the fall while waiting for guidance from the NCAA in respect to the many questions that will arise over the next few days in regards to waivers, scholarships, eligibility and the recommencement of men's soccer when appropriate."

— Head Coach Brian Quinn

Women's Soccer

San Diego women's soccer turned in an eight-win season in 2019 and head coach Lou Lieberman, in her fourth season at the helm of the Toreros, welcomed seven newcomers, including transfer goalkeeper Judith Sorribes. A talented sophomore class highlights the experience of this year's team with midfielder Eden Quiroz garnering All-WCC freshman team honors last season.

"However disappointing this news is to so many of us, we understand this decision is supporting the health, safety and well-being of our scholar-athletes. Our scholar-athletes are adaptable, curious about their greatness, and eager to practice and compete when the timing is deemed appropriate. I want to thank Executive Director of Athletics Bill McGillis and our entire USD staff for their continued commitment to providing a safe environment for our scholar-athletes."

— Head Coach Louise Lieberman

Men's and Women's Cross-Country

The men's and women's cross-country programs are coming off a 2019 season in which both squads emerged with top-25 finishes at the NCAA West Regional in Colfax, Wash. In the event there is spring competition, this year's teams hope to build off the successes of junior Ian Converse and senior Hannah Rasmussen after both led each side at NCAAs. Rasmussen earned All-WCC second team honors in 2019 by placing 12th at the WCC Championships.

"Of course we are bummed. I am bummed as a coach, but there is more to consider here. The safety of our scholar-athletes is paramount. I agree with the decision made by the West Coast Conference and look forward to the day when we can once again compete against some of the top cross-country teams in the nation. We are so blessed to be healthy and have a great, dynamic group of athletes. This is a moment to focus on the positives around us instead of the negatives. We will continue to develop creative ways to give our team the best experience at the University of San Diego."

— Head Coach Will Guarino

Football

Last week, San Diego football also had its fall season canceled when the Pioneer Football League (PFL) announced no competition this upcoming fall. The intent of the PFL is to look into the possibility of a spring season.

—USD Athletics

The West Coast Conference has postponed the fall 2020 sports season. At USD it affects volleyball, men and women's soccer and men and women's cross-country. A decision on basketball hasn't been made.The West Coast Conference has postponed the fall 2020 sports season. At USD it affects volleyball, men and women's soccer and men and women's cross-country. A decision on basketball hasn't been made.

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Chris Kutz, Associate Athletics Director, Strategic Communications
ckutz@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-7930

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