Pac-12 announces return to play

Dear Utah Athletics Family,

I am so happy for our student-athletes whose sports programs will now be able to return to play with today's decisions by the Pac-12 CEO Group. This is an exciting day, and a real boost to the spirits of our entire department and our great fans.

At every stage of this process, the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff has been our highest priority, and the guidance of medical experts has informed each decision. We are grateful for the diligent work of the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee, the game-changing partnership with Quidel, and the leadership of the Pac-12 CEO Group to continuously evaluate new information to reach the decisions announced today.

All of our student-athletes and coaches have been working extremely hard to keep themselves prepared for the possibility of competition and they have been so disciplined in their adherence to our health and safety protocols. We will now finalize details of preseason preparations for our football, men's basketball and women's basketball programs. Football games will begin the weekend of Nov. 6-7, and men's and women's basketball competition will begin Nov. 25 in alignment with the NCAA basketball calendar.

Our traditional Fall sports, including cross-country, soccer and volleyball, will continue their preparations for spring competition, consistent with the Pac-12 decision to align with NCAA Championships scheduling, and our winter and spring sports continue to train and prepare for their seasons.

We are fully prepared to host football games at Rice-Eccles Stadium this fall while construction continues on the Ken Garff Performance Zone. When the decision was made to proceed with the demolition of the Spence Clark Football Center in August, we thoroughly considered the implications of potential home football games in the stadium, and suitable contingency plans are being prepared for team locker rooms and all other game-related operations.

As part of today's announcement, the decision was made by the Conference that there will be no fans at any athletic competitions until Jan. 1, 2021. We understand and respect the health and safety considerations that were taken into account to arrive at this conference-wide decision. Our fans make home games something truly special and we will miss their presence this Fall.

Finally, I want to thank all of our tremendous Utah Utes fans who have remained so committed through very challenging times. Your support is critical, and we look forward to the day when we are able to gather again and watch our teams compete for the University of Utah. We will continue to rely upon every one of you for all of your support, and we sincerely thank you.

Mark Harlan
Director of Athletics

Reaction to Pac-12 announcement

KYLE WHITTINGHAM:
“Our players have done a great job staying focused over the course of the past several months and have worked extremely hard through all of the uncertainty. We’re excited that we’ve been given the go-ahead to play football this fall and look forward to getting the season underway.”

LYNNE ROBERTS:
“With all of the unknowns student-athletes from around the country have faced this year, it is exciting to officially be one step closer to our team getting to compete in the sport they love. I have been really impressed with our team and how they have managed this situation. I know they are chomping at the bit to compete again, and we can’t wait to get the season started. We will continue to work with our university and the Pac-12 to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes as we continue to move forward together.”

LARRY KRYSTKOWIAK:
“It’s a big day for our basketball program, fans and league as a whole. Our team has been working tirelessly at home during this whole pandemic and I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work they’ve put in. It’s been great having them back on campus together and getting them connected for the upcoming season. There hasn’t been a lot of good news since this whole thing started back in March, so this is definitely a win for everyone involved. I know the staff and our players are thrilled and eager to hit the court full swing and get ready for the upcoming season. There is still a lot of work to be done until then, but we’re just happy as everyone else in our conference to know we’ll be playing some basketball come Nov. 25.”

Link to Pac-12 announcement

You can read the full Pac-12 announcement here.