Aztec Fall Sports Competitions Postponed

Mountain West Announcement Opens in a new window

SAN DIEGO – Due to the coronavirus pandemic and prioritizing the health and safety of student-athletes, San Diego State has joined the other Mountain West institutions to indefinitely postpone fall sports competitions, SDSU and the MW announced Monday. The postponement affects the 2020 fall season for the Aztec cross country, football, women's soccer and volleyball programs.
Though all intercollegiate competitions are postponed, Aztec teams will still practice and work out in accordance to NCAA legislation and guidance; state, local and campus parameters; and institutional determination. San Diego State will continue all necessary preparations for the potential return to competition during the 2020-21 academic year and retain the opportunity for student-athletes to participate in their respective sports.
"When we started the process months ago of looking at what fall sports may look like, we did so with one non-negotiable aspect - the safety and well-being of our student-athletes," San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker said. "After continuous consultation with local and state health officials and in conjunction with the Mountain West Conference, we have decided to postpone our fall sport competitions.
The Mountain West will begin to explore the feasibility of rescheduling fall sports competition, including the possibility of those sports competing in the spring, and develop options for consideration. Athletically-related activities and training opportunities for enrolled student-athletes will also be evaluated consistent with NCAA legislation and guidance, as well as state, local and campus parameters.
"We will continue to honor student-athlete scholarships and work with them on the pursuit of their degrees on the heels of a record-setting academic performance last spring," Wicker said. "We will continue to evaluate the possibility of a spring season for those sports impacted by today's decision."
Information regarding football season tickets will be released later this week.
The Aztecs were originally slated to play a 12-game schedule, including eight Mountain West contests. Last week the MW announced an eight-game conference schedule with the option to play two non-conference opponents. SDSU has won at least 10 games in four of the past five seasons.
Football Head Coach Brady Hoke on the MW announcement:
"Although today is a difficult day, we know that we are making changes to the schedule for the safety and health of the players, and that is always the right thing to do. I am very disappointed for our student-athletes. They were excited in their commitment and preparation for the upcoming season. Now we are going to have to readjust. I am proud of San Diego State president Adela de la Torre and athletic director John David Wicker for their approach and guidance during this challenging time."
Options for the 2020 cross country season were still being reviewed prior to today's announcement.
Cross Country Head Coach Shelia Burrell on the MW announcement:
"We are all just hoping for the best scenario this season, but understand that the safety and well-being of our athletes is paramount. We will make the best of the opportunity to prepare our team for the spring."
The Aztec women's soccer team had their non-conference schedule scrapped last week and were set to play a conference-only slate starting the weekend of Sept. 26. Unlike previous years where the MW tournament champion earned the league's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, last week it was decided that the regular-season champion would receive the tournament nod.
Women's Soccer Head Coach Mike Friesen on the MW announcement:
"We are saddened by today's news, but also glad that the Mountain West and its member institutions have made this decision, which is in the best interests of our student-athletes and those involved with our program. We are looking forward to a more normal competitive situation. With last spring's season cut short due to the pandemic, this move will give us more time to bond and work together, which can only benefit us in the future. I encourage everyone to wear a mask and follow the guidelines set forth by our medical experts. Doing that will help us get back on the field as soon as possible."
Last week it was announced that the Aztec volleyball team would be playing a conference-only match schedule. Now the program will have to wait until the spring to get the Brent Hilliard era started. Hilliard was named head coach of the SDSU volleyball team in January.
Volleyball Head Coach Brent Hilliard on the MW announcement:
"After hearing the latest news, I can say it does not come as a major surprise. Our philosophy has been one of hope for the best but prepare for everything else. With that said, our team moves forward each day trying to become a little bit better and at the ready to reach our team goals. On a personal level it has been wonderful to see the pure joy of being together as a team during these last couple of practices. I hope that we can find a way to stay the course and continue to work, as it has been inspiring to both myself and staff." 
"Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our students, student-athletes, coaches, faculty, staff and overall communities," said Dr. Mary Papazian, President at San José State University and Chair of the MW Board of Directors. "Through the hard work of many over the past several months, the Conference made every effort to create an opportunity for our student-athletes to compete, and we empathize with the disappointment this creates for everyone associated with our programs. The best interests of our students and student-athletes remain our focus and we will persist in our efforts to forge a viable and responsible path forward."
"Since the start of the pandemic, our membership and staff have been working diligently to prepare for a fall sports season," said MW Commissioner Craig Thompson. "We were hopeful we could carefully and responsibly conduct competition as originally scheduled with essential protocols in place. However, numerous external factors and unknowns outside our control made this difficult decision necessary. I fully understand the impact of this outcome on our student- athletes, coaches, administrators and staff who work so hard daily to play the sports we all love, and I share in their disappointment. We will continue to navigate this pandemic together, overcome the obstacles and return to intercollegiate athletics at the earliest opportunity."