On-field preparations for the 2020 season for the Texas football program have officially been stilted due to the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in the day Thursday, the Big 12 became the last of the Power Five conferences to officially shutdown all spring athletic competitions, doing so until at least March 29. They have also suspended all on- and off-campus recruiting in every sport, including football.
A short time later, Oklahoma, which had already kicked off spring football practice earlier this week, announced that those practices, as well as those in any other out-of-season sport, have been suspended until further notice.
Texas football had been scheduled to kick off spring practice March 24. A short time ago, UT announced that it has postponed a decision on when — or even if — spring practice in football will start until after March 29.
Below is the full statement from UT athletic director Chris Del Conte:
With the Big 12’s recent directive suspending athletics activities until Sunday, March 29, all regular-season Longhorn Athletics competitions will be cancelled until that date, beginning with our Baseball series on Friday. In addition to in-season UT sports with current regular-season competition like Baseball, Golf, Rowing, Softball and Tennis, this also will include the Texas Relays and Spring Soccer matches, and postpone a decision on the start of Spring Football Practice until after the March 29 date.
“That was followed by an announcement from the NCAA that all winter and spring sports championships have been cancelled, which includes those upcoming in Track & Field, Basketball and Swimming & Diving. This is a very fluid situation and one that presents great challenges. The health, safety and well-being of everyone involved is the number one priority and we will be having many discussions in the coming hours, days and weeks to determine what the next steps are. We appreciate everyone’s support and patience on this and will continue to provide updates as decisions are made.
The Texas football news is the latest in a whirlwind of coronavirus-related concerns that have impacted the sport this past week. In chronological order, from most recent back:
- The MAC suspended all spring athletic activities, including spring football practice.
- The Mountain West shut down all spring sports, effective immediately, but will allow, for the moment, individual schools to make their own decisions on spring football practice.
- The Big Ten suspended all spring activities, including football recruiting.
- Penn State canceled its spring football game.
- ACC suspended all athletics activities, including spring football practice.
- The SEC suspended on- and off-campus recruiting.
- USC postponed spring football practice.
- Notre Dame stops all recruiting, postpones spring football practice.
- Baylor suspended the start of spring practice, recruiting activities.
- Ohio State canceled its spring football game.
- Michigan canceled its spring football game.
- Cincinnati (HERE), Kent State (HERE), Nevada (HERE) and TCU (HERE) all canceled their spring football games as well.