Big West Conference cancels 2020-21 fall sports season, impacting multiple UH sports

Big West Conference cancels 2020-21 fall sports season, impacting multiple UH sports
Wahine come together before heading into set five (Source: Hawaii Athletics)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Big West Conference announced on Thursday the decision to cancel the 2020-21 fall sports season, due to the challenges of safeguarding the health and safety of their student-athletes.

This decision affects UH men’s and women’s cross country, women’s indoor volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer, a move that head Wahine soccer coach Michelle Nagamine was expecting, despite her hopes for a 2020 season.

“Unfortunately, it was not unexpected, you look at the news every day and the numbers on the increase in California and the shutdowns and all of that.” Coach Nagamine told reporters following the announcement. “I think we understand the severity of the issue and what the world is facing, but it doesn’t make it any easier for our team and our staff, but we certainly understand the decision and we support the Big West.”

Although the Wahine won’t be running onto the pitch this year, coach Nagamine and her staff are going to continue to prepare the team for their long awaited return.

“I think it’s important for us as a staff to maintain that eye on the prize type mentality.” Coach Nagamine said. “The fact that we will play again and we can’t wait to play in front of our fans again, thats something that we talk about a lot, that it will be worth the wait.”

For UH cross country, most of the team already went through a canceled season earlier this year, when the outdoor track and field season was canceled during the early days of the pandemic.

Now that the cross country season is a no go, head coach Tim Boyce is now setting his teams eyes on the upcoming track and field season — a season that was already taken away from them once.

“We’ve really had the mindset for our program is that were really going to go about the work preparing for and the hope for a season of outdoor track and field, so thats where our focus will be.” Coach Boyce said. “We’ll continue to work hard and be ready when the starter calls us to the line and the gun is raised.”

The Wahine volleyball team, however, was overcome with emotions, holding on to the hope that their 2020 campaign would happen, according to head coach Robyn Ah Mow.

They’re feeling a lot, you know a lot of them are kind of angry, sad, disappointed, you know it’s not a bad thing, coach (Nagamine) and Tim used the word resilient,” Coach Ah Mow said. “I think my girls just need to process this a little bit.”

During the emotional zoom call with her team, coach Ah Mow gave her girls a different perspective on the situation, which helped them process the decision.

“You just got to be thankful,” Coach AH Mow said. “Theres a pandemic going on, nobody knows whats going to happen so just be thankful, one you’re alive, two you’re healthy, you still have a roof over your head, you still got food and when I told them that they were kind of like okay.”

The men’s and women’s Big West basketball season will go on as planned, but the conference will evaluate the COVID-19 safety protocols — their seasons will also help guide the decision on the return of Big West spring sports, with a decision to be made by late January.

The conference will continue to monitor developments surrounding the pandemic and will consider additional actions as needed.

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