After NCAA begins process to restore eligibility, Big 12 cancels rest of spring sports in 2020

John. E. Hoover

The common-sense pragmatism to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic scare that Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione spoke about on Thursday was overruled on Friday.

The Big 12 Conference announced Friday night that all remaining spring sports competitions, both in conference and out-of-conference, is canceled for the rest of the academic year.

Furthermore, all Big 12 organized or voluntary team activities, practices or other gatherings, are suspended until at least March 29.

Castiglione had said on a teleconference just 24 hours earlier that Big 12 leadership was “trying … to work through these time segments” as information about the virus and evaluations about how to proceed are assessed.

The NCAA announced on Thursday that the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments were canceled, and then announced that all spring championships also were canceled.

“We’re not altogether sure why championships that wouldn’t occur until much later in the spring or early summer were canceled now,” Castiglione said. “Now, I say that completely recognizing that those involved in making that decision had information that we don’t have in front of us right at this moment. I trust it that they used it to their best advantage to make decisions that were right for everybody.

“With that said, when we were talking about our approach, we wanted to establish a prudent window of time to suspend practices or competition and then constantly assess and evaluate and take in all the new information that we could, and then we’ll decide whether we would resume play or cancel it altogether if we reached that certain point. We didn’t necessarily want to go as far as to say we would cancel all the competitive seasons for the sports that just got underway.”

The NCAA announced earlier Friday that the legislative process was underway to seek relief for spring sports student-athletes who lost a season of competition because of the cancellations. The measure must go through additional NCAA committees and must be approved by university presidents and chancellors, but it was a first step in easing any angst over losing the rest of the 2020 spring season.

“Details of eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time,” the NCAA said in a statement. “Additional issues with NCAA rules must be addressed, and appropriate governance bodies will work through those in the coming days and weeks.”

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John. E. Hoover