So long, Baylor baseball. We hardly knew you, Baylor softball. Not to mention golf, tennis, and track and field.
The Big 12 announced Friday that it was canceling all spring sports competitions for the rest of the academic year, including sports that stretch beyond the completion of classes, out of concerns for limiting the spread of COVID-19.
“Due to the ongoing developments related to COVID-19, the Big 12 announces that all organized team activities whether organized or voluntary, including team and individual practices, meetings, and other organized gatherings, have been suspended until March 29 and will be re-evaluated at that time,” the conference statement said. “In addition, all conference and non-conference competitions are cancelled through the end of the academic year, including spring sports that compete beyond the academic year.”
This unprecedented turn of events followed the NCAA’s Thursday decision that it was halting all winter and spring sports championships. So, in some ways, the Big 12’s move to call off regular-season contests could be expected.
Fortunately for those spring sport athletes, they will retain their current eligibility. The NCAA made that call on Friday.
“Council leadership agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes who participated in spring sports,” the NCAA said in a statement. “Details of eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time. Additional issues with the NCAA rules must be addressed, and appropriate governance bodies will work through those in the coming days and weeks.”
The Big 12 baseball season was supposed to start next weekend with four conference series, including Baylor at Kansas State. Instead, those games won’t happen.
The Baylor baseball team will remain under self-quarantine through March 22 after learning that it had indirect contact with three TSA agents in San Jose, Calif., who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
From a Baylor perspective, the cancellations dealt a blow to some promising seasons. Baylor baseball had put together a 10-6 record that included series wins over Nebraska and Cal Poly, along with a sweep of three SEC opponents at the Shriners College Classic in Houston.
Glenn Moore’s softball team had put together a 19-5 record that included Top 25 wins over Minnesota, Arkansas and Florida State. The Lady Bears were slated to travel to Florida to face the Gators this weekend and were scheduled to start Big 12 play next weekend against Kansas before the cancellations struck.
Other sports had high expectations, too. Brian Boland’s men’s tennis team was 13-3 and ranked 11th in the USTA poll. Todd Harbour’s track and field program was supposed to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend, where sophomore pole vaulter KC Lightfoot entered as one of the NCAA title favorites.
While not yet an NCAA championship sport, acrobatics and tumbling followed the NCAA’s lead, as the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association announced that it was canceling both its regular-season meets and championships. Baylor was seeking its sixth straight national title under the direction of head coach Felecia Mulkey.