AUSTIN, Texas — Following a four-hour window on March 12 that saw almost every major professional sports league suspend or delay its season and the NCAA cancel each of its remaining winter and spring championships, the Big 12 announced earlier in March it would be canceling athletic competition through the end of the academic year.
Additionally, the Big 12 Conference announced that all organized team activities whether organized or voluntary, including team and individual practices, meetings, and other organized gatherings, were suspended until March 29 and would be re-evaluated at that time.
As of March 29, the Big 12 announced the following policy:
- No organized, in-person team activities of any type, in any location.
- No in-person, voluntary workouts, film study sessions, meetings, technique drills or captains’ practices/OTA sessions of any type, in any location until a permissible date is established by the NCAA.
- Virtual or on-line supervised physical workouts and skill instruction, regardless of location, are not permitted.
- All “virtual” group activities, including film study, are limited to two hours per week in all sports. Only countable coaches may conduct virtual film study, technical discussions, tactical sessions and other non-physical activities. These policies will be revisited and adjusted at regular intervals and as circumstances dictate.
- Coaches can recommend written, self-directed workout plans provided they are approved in accordance with proper procedures as outlined by each institution’s appropriate sport performance, medical and/or athletic training personnel (and in accordance with the NCAA Recommendations on Preventing Catastrophic Injury and Death). Taped demonstration videos on respective workout plans are allowed in order to demonstrate proper form and technique. Institutional personnel may not supervise, conduct or monitor workouts on or off campus.
- In-person, on campus meals and nutritional supplements may be provided in situations where student-athletes are unable to leave campus. Off-campus nutritional supplements are limited to the permissible items as outlined in NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11.
- It is fully permissible to provide non-athletically-related support to student-athletes including:
- sports medicine treatments, physical therapy and rehabilitation
- academic support
- mental health and wellness support
- It is permissible for institutions to provide off-campus student-athletes with apparel and personal equipment that is regularly available to student-athletes when they are on campus for conditioning workouts. The provision of other equipment is not to extend to rental, purchase or arrangement of conditioning or strength training equipment or machines (e.g. stationary bicycles, treadmills, free weights, benches or weight machines) but is intended to allow for reasonable supplies such as stretching band/straps, foam rollers, etc.
- Prospective student-athletes may not be involved in any capacity in any countable activities, including virtual activities.
- The Big 12 Conference Board and Directors of Athletics will convene regularly to assess changing circumstances and to make shared decisions regarding amendments to the above-listed policies. The policies noted will commence at 7 a.m. CDT, Monday, March 30, 2020 and remain in effect until May 31, 2020 or until additional guidance is provided.
- Decisions on the structure, schedule and components of training during the post-pandemic period will be made as circumstances dictate.
"This is a very fluid situation and one that presents great challenges," Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement. "The health, safety and well-being of everyone involved is the number one priority and we will be having many discussions in the coming hours, days and weeks to determine what the next steps are. We appreciate everyone’s support and patience on this and will continue to provide updates as decisions are made.”
You can read Del Conte's full response here.
The Big 12 cancellation announcement came one day after NCAA president Mark Emmert opted to cancel the College World Series and every other spring championship.
Texas was scheduled to start spring football practice on March 24, which will now be delayed, and host the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays from March 25 through March 28, which have now been canceled.
Reactions surrounding the news ranged from anger to sadness to frustration.