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Big 8 cancels fall sports; non-conference games possible

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Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 3:42 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With schools across Wisconsin still trying to figure out how they will handle academic classes in the coming school year, the Big 8 Conference has canceled its entire conference schedule for all fall sports.

“Since all member schools are not able to participate fully in conference contests during current fall season dates as scheduled, Big 8 Conference competitions will not be held and conference champions will not be named,” the conference stated in a Tuesday release, noting that the decision passed unanimously.

Even though their conference games are scratched, some Big 8 schools may still have a chance to play. Schools could still schedule non-conference games, provided they stick to the guidelines laid out by the WIAA and local public health officials, conference officials explained.

It noted that so long as schools are closed in each district, it will bar in-person practices or workouts or any practices with a coach, which is in line with how they handled the spring semester. Virtual coaching and workouts will be allowed, so long as district policy permits it.

“All schools will be supported in their local decisions and may have the option to schedule non-conference competitions in any fall sports, so long as they follow the guidance of the WIAA and local public health officials,” they said.

The state high school athletic association is still determining how it will handle season regulations and start dates, the Big 8 stated. The schools will then be able to work out their plans for athletics and extra-curricular activities.

“The Big 8 Conference supports the fact that education based athletics is a privilege, not a right, which requires an added level of responsibility for those that administer them and serve as a partner in the education of student-athletes,” it said.

The Big 8 plans to stay in touch with state and local health agencies and to provide another update on the status of conference athletics following its next scheduled meeting on August 17.

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