Sundial Photo/Bryanna Winner
The Big West Conference is closer to the return of spring sports. Baseball, softball, men’s volleyball, and women’s water polo were cleared by the conference on Friday. New protocols and scheduling were created to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“The Big West is excited to take the next step toward spring competition,” Big West commissioner Dan Butterly said in a press release. “Our focus remains on the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and we will continue to evaluate the pandemic’s effect on our ability to provide a safe environment for competition.”
Some of the new restrictions added to the scheduling of matches for all spring sports is that they will only be allowed to compete in a single match per week. They are also not allowed to schedule any games midweek. Schools will also have the ability to schedule games between opponents earlier in their season, but only the first matchup between those two teams will count towards their overall standings.
Baseball’s conference games are expected to begin on March 19 and end on May 29.
Opponents are allowed to schedule a matchup prior to the one scheduled but the second meeting between the teams will not count for their standings.
As stated in the press release by the Big West Conference, “the regular season [for baseball] will consist of four-game weekend series against each conference opponent.”
Softball’s season is set to start on March 19 and conclude on May 15. Teams will have a three-game weekend series for conference play and will be allowed to add a fourth game to that series but will be considered to be a non-conference match.
Women’s water polo begins on March 12 and will finish on April 25 with championship matches being between April 30 and May 2. This year’s conference consists of playing each of the Big West opponents once and teams can schedule a second matchups with opponents if both teams agree to the terms.
The men’s volleyball season starts on March 11 and will go through April 17. They will have a 10-game season with a two-game series and the ability to add a third non-conference match. The Big West championships for men’s volleyball are set to take place at the University of Hawai’i on April 22-24, in the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.
“These schedule formats reflect the changes our Big West administrators, coaches and staff felt were necessary in the face of unprecedented challenges,” Butterly said. “I applaud their efforts to find solutions that move the Big West forward.”
The Big West also expects all schools to follow health and safety guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NCAA, and federal, state and local governments.
Spring sports have come a long way since March 12, 2020 when all competitions were canceled by NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors. Now, we are a few weeks away from what could be the safe start of the new season for the Big West.