Hopes to pick fall sports back up in 2021 have officially been dashed at Cal State Bakersfield.
The Big West Board of Directors on Thursday announced that fall sports will not be played during the 2020-21 school year. The conference originally delayed the start of the fall season in July, but expressed hope that the COVID-19 pandemic would subside enough to allow for a return to competition in the spring.
Those hopes won't come to fruition, however, and the news officially brings an end to the men's and women's soccer, indoor volleyball and cross country seasons at Cal State Bakersfield before they even began.
“(We’ve) been trying to find ways to figure out how we could play a fall season maybe in the spring," CSUB Athletic Director Kenneth "Ziggy" Siegfried said. "But when it all was said and done, the ability to be able to have that many teams competing at once on campus, there’s just no feasible way to keep those student-athletes safe.”
Siegfried says that all affected athletes would retain a year of eligibility. He is also optimistic that the decision won't result in the school having to make any program cuts.
As for fall and spring athletes returning for workouts, that may ultimately be determined by how CSUB and the rest of the Big West handles athletic operations in the coming months.
Having recently started play in men's and women's basketball, Siegfried says the league has told its institutions that it plans to monitor how they handle the challenges of playing in a pandemic, and says that could play a major role in the future for many athletic departments.
"That's going to be the pilot for future decisions on other sports," he said. "The men's and women's basketball teams are going to continue to both practice and compete (and) they're looking at how that situation is going on. As long as there's not significant challenges among multiple institutions, I think we'll be OK."
The Big West will use the progress made by basketball as a way to determine if they can move forward with spring sports. That decision is expected to come in January.