Sac State spring sports teams’ seasons suspended amid coronavirus fears

Play may be reinstated later this spring


Brooks Nuanez - Skyline Sports

Sac State senior guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’afa dribbles the ball down court against Weber State on Wednesday, March 11 at CenturyLink Arena. Sac State spring sports teams’ seasons have been suspended indefinitely due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Robyn Dobson and Shaun Holkko

Amid coronavirus fears and a shift to online instruction, all Sacramento State spring sports teams’ seasons have been suspended indefinitely. 

The Athletics Department announced Thursday evening that in compliance with the Big Sky Conference, Big West Conference, Western Athletic Conference, Mountain Pacific Sports Confederation and American Athletic Conference suspending their spring sports, all Sac State sports will no longer be competing. 

Each conference will have the opportunity to reinstate play at some point later this spring. 

All spring sports will continue to practice to remain conditioned and ready in the event that competition resumes, according to Sac State Assistant Athletic Director Brian Berger. 

Sac State President Robert Nelsen officially announced Thursday morning via email that most Sac State classes will be held online for the remainder of the semester beginning March 20.

RELATED: Sac State to suspend most in-person classes over coronavirus concerns

The Big Sky Conference canceled the remainder of the 2020 Basketball Championships in Boise, Idaho on Thursday morning. 

“This whole thing is bigger than basketball or sports,” Athletic Director Mark Orr said in a statement. “There’s a lot going on in our world. It’s easy to get caught up in our tournaments, all across the country, but I back the decision 100%. For the health and safety of our student athletes, our fans, our staff, our coaches, everyone, safety is always paramount.”

The Sac State men’s basketball team was scheduled to play Eastern Washington University at 11 a.m. in the quarterfinals. 

“After consulting with medical experts, local authorities and the leadership of our institutions, we feel that this decision is prudent given the health and well being of all involved,” Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said in a press release. 

Members of the Sac State basketball team said they were shocked by the announcement as they prepared to play Thursday morning. 

“Not much to say,” senior forward Osi Nwachukwu said via direct message on Instagram. “I just know the whole team was looking forward to this game, seeing that (Eastern Washington is) the #1 seed.” 

The NCAA officially canceled the remainder of winter and spring sports championships Friday afternoon in a statement, including the upcoming March Madness tournaments. Sac State was set to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 20 and 22.

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The Western Athletic Conference also announced Thursday afternoon that all spring conference competition will be suspended until further notice amid coronavirus concerns. 

The Sac State baseball team is the only team on campus that competes in the WAC. The Hornets were scheduled to play Friday at the University of Nevada, Reno, but will not play. 

“All WAC games are suspended,” said Assistant Media Relations Director, Robert Barsanti via text message. “The Mountain West also suspended games which means this weekend’s series is not happening.” 

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The Big West Conference suspended all spring sports indefinitely as well. The beach volleyball team’s matches scheduled for Thursday and Saturday were canceled and they will not compete until further notice.

“Obviously there’s a lot of precaution going on with the coronavirus,” volleyball coach Ruben Volta said. “It’s understandable because I think this is pretty uniform across all sports in every conference. I literally was setting up courts because we had a match today. We found out while we were setting up the courts in Folsom. I was just told that our season is suspended indefinitely.”

The softball team was scheduled to play in four games at California State University, Fullerton in the Easton Invitational beginning Friday. Fullerton canceled the tournament due to the announcement made by the Big West to suspend all sports indefinitely. 

The Big Sky was the last of the conferences on campus to make an official announcement about the suspension of spring sports. Softball, track and field, golf and tennis all compete in the Big Sky. 

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The gymnastics team’s final meet at San Jose State on Sunday was canceled. The MPSF Championships in Davis on March 21 was also canceled. 

Sac State Athletics began to take precautions against the spreading of the virus Wednesday evening by limiting attendance at its home athletic events.

RELATED: Sac State to limit attendance at athletic events amid coronavirus concerns

Students Organizations and Leadership also sent out an email canceling all sport club and recreation club events through the end of the semester.

Alejandro Buenrostro, junior public health major and member of the men’s club volleyball team, said there was “very confusing deliberation” in the club’s group chat because some members received “conflicting and vague information.”

“It was kind of really saddening,” Buenrostro said. “I’m a transfer student so this is my one connection right now with student life. It was really annoying but also just sad to see (all) that have to go for the rest of the semester.” 

Additional reporting by Ian Edwards and Brooke Uhlenhop.