WAC Cancels Fall 2020 Athletics, Swimming Pushed Until at Least November

The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) has become the lastest NCAA Division I Conference to say that they won’t have athletics competition during the fall 2020 season. The move comes as a reaction to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as college athletics is having a week of reckoning about how to proceed with the 2020-2021 season.

The WAC’s verbiage of the exact terms of their cancellation is a little meandering, but ultimately comes out to this: fall season sports, including non-championship portions of spring season sports, won’t be allowed to begin until January 1, 2021 at the earliest. Winter season sports, including swimming & diving, are postponed through at least the end of October, with more discussion to come on the future of winter season athletics.

It will be up to each school to determine the start of conditioning, strength training, and ‘other practice opportunities’ of all sports.

The conference doesn’t sponsor football, and has only 4 sponsored sports with primary seasons in the fall semester. The conference says that the WAC will try to hold these sports in the spring “if feasible,” contingent on the NCAA fall championships being moved to the spring. While Division II and Division III of the NCAA have officially canceled their fall championships, Division I has not done so yet. The NCAA has given Division I leadership until August 21 to make a decision on fall sports championships.

Fall Season WAC Sports (Until at least January 1)

  • Men’s Cross Country
  • Women’s Cross Country
  • Women’s Volleyball
  • Women’s Soccer
  • Non-Championship portions of men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, baseball, and softball through at least January 1.

Winter Season WAC Sports (Through the End of October, Pending Further Board Discussion)

  • Men’s Basketball
  • Women’s Basketball
  • Men’s Swimming & Diving
  • Women’s Swimming & Diving

This will, at a minimum, delay the start of competition in men’s and women’s swimming & diving until November. In a traditional season, most schools begin their competition schedules in October, with some beginning as early as September.

There is a wrinkle in WAC swimming & diving announcement as it pertains to swimming & diving in that there are several schools that participate as ‘affiliate members.’ The WAC says that these affiliate members “remain under the jurisdiction of institutional discretion when it comes to determining a safe return to competition.”

3 of the 4 affiliate members in men’s swimming, which are Air Force, UNLV, and Wyoming, are primary members of the Mountain West, which has said that those schools, in men’s swimming & diving, will follow the guidelines of the WAC. In essence, this all adds up to those schools being cleared to make their own decisions in men’s swimming & diving.

The conference also includes Idaho and Northern Colorado as women’s swimming affiliates. They are primary members of the Big Sky Conference, which has postponed football until the spring, but has not announced any decisions on other sports. This means that these schools as well will be at their own discretion.

WAC Members, Men’s Swimming & Diving

  • Cal Baptist
  • Grand Canyon University
  • Seattle
  • CSU-Bakersfield (Affiliate)
  • Air Force (Affiliate)
  • UNLV (Affiliate)
  • Wyoming (Affiliate)

WAC Members, Women’s Swimming & Diving

  • Cal Baptist
  • Grand Canyon
  • New Mexico State
  • Seattle
  • CSU-Bakersfield (Affiliate)
  • Idaho (Affiliate)
  • Northern Arizona (Affiliate)
  • Northern Colorado (Affiliate)

Last season, the Air Force men topped UNLV for the men’s WAC title, while Northern Arizona beat out Cal Baptist on the women’s side. The conference is regularly represented at the NCAA Championships, including the Grand Canyon men, who finished 32nd at the last championship in 2019.


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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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