Pac-12 Conference postpones fall sports through end of year, affecting SDSU men’s soccer

Then-sophomore+midfielder+Arturo+Chavez+looks+to+cross+the+ball+into+the+penalty+area+during+the+Aztecs%27+1-0+overtime+loss+to+Oregon+State+on+Oct.+24%2C+2019+at+the+SDSU+Sports+Deck.

Sam Mayo

Then-sophomore midfielder Arturo Chavez looks to cross the ball into the penalty area during the Aztecs' 1-0 overtime loss to Oregon State on Oct. 24, 2019 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

by Amber Salas, Staff Writer

The Pac-12 Conference announced its decision to postpone all fall sports through the end of 2020 on Aug. 11.

San Diego State men’s soccer is the only team at the university to compete in the Pac-12, meaning they will not set foot on the field this fall. The Aztecs’ men’s soccer team has competed in the Pac-12 since 2005. 

The Pac-12 CEO group voted unanimously to postpone all sports through the end of the year, however they will consider a return for those affected sports after January 1, 2021 as long as COVID-19 conditions improve.  

Head coach Ryan Hopkins expressed his thoughts with optimism in knowing there are better days ahead. 

“I feel for the student-athletes and their disappointment in the postponement of the season, but every situation in life is temporary so I know better days are on the way for SDSU and the men’s soccer program,” Hopkins said in a statement on Twitter

Although Hopkins is eager to take the field and watch his new team compete, he ultimately wants to keep his players safe first and foremost. 

“The health and safety of our players is always my number one priority, so I’m glad our approach has been driven by science and data to ensure they are protected,” Hopkins said. 

The Pac-12 has guaranteed that student-athletes affected by this postponement will continue to have their scholarships upheld. All support services that go along with these scholarships will continue including university support, academic advising and tutoring. 

A COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee was set in place by the Pac-12 which continued to monitor the situation. The committee ultimately felt that moving forward with contact practices and competition was concerning for the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and athletic departments. 

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said he knows how disappointing this news is, but his priority is the well-being of all student-athletes. 

“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” Scott said in a statement.  “Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”

Student-athletes have been watching professional sports return to play and hoped they too could do the same. Some sports have returned to play in a “bubble” format in which they can limit exposure to COVID-19. 

Creating a bubble for college athletics would create its own challenges as student-athletes are exposed to other students around campus every day. 

“Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble,” Scott said. “Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of COVID-19 is significant.” 

The conference will continue to stay updated on COVID-19 conditions to consider starting these postponed sports in 2021.  

“We will continue to monitor the situation and when conditions change we will be ready to explore all options to play the impacted sports in the new calendar year,” Scott said. 

In order to see men’s soccer back on the field in the spring, Hopkins knows his players and coaching staff must follow guidelines to remain safe and healthy. 

“We need to continue to be vigilant following all set protocols such as social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing our hands,” Hopkins said. 

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