On Tuesday afternoon, the Pac-12 Conference announced that they were not only postponing fall sports, but ending all athletic competitions for the remainder of 2020. While we’re keeping track of the fall sports cancellations as we inch closer to the NCAA’s 50% cancellation trigger, we have to note that the end of athletics in the PAC-12 does immediately impact the Marquette athletics calendar.
Steve Wojciechowski and the men’s basketball team was slated to make the program’s first ever trip to Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, December 12, 2020. Since that’s before January 1, 2021, that game against UCLA has now been cancelled due to the now five-plus month long coronavirus pandemic in the United States. I suppose we could say that it has been postponed officially, as it was intended to be the front half of a home-and-home series, and logic would dictate that MU will just end up visiting California in the 2022-23 season instead, but that’s a long range discussion for another time. We know for sure that the game will not be happening in this upcoming season under any circumstances.
The trip to Los Angeles was going to be one of just two true road games in the 2020-21 non-conference schedule for Marquette. The one that remains is MU’s contribution to this coming year’s Gavitt Tip-off Games. I’d tell you who that opponent is, except the Big East and the Big Ten have not announced any Gavitt Games pairings for the upcoming season. Is it weird that it’s been two months since Marquette announced their non-conference schedule other than that game and it still hasn’t been announced? Not any weirder than Marquette not announcing any non-conference games of any kind for Megan Duffy and the women’s basketball team, that’s for sure.
In any case, with the Big Ten having also postponed all fall competitions on Tuesday, it feels safe to say that we’re closer than ever before to losing at least the non-conference portion of the college basketball schedule if not the entire 2020-21 season all together. If the Pac-12 believes that it is not in the best interest of their athletes to compete before January 1st in any events, then it’s only a matter of time before more conferences or schools join in with them. Remember, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 are both very big volleyball leagues, and both conferences would have reason to expect at least one of their teams to be playing in the women’s volleyball Final Four in mid-December. Both leagues have now opted out of that possibility, and if they don’t think there’s any way to compete in that event, it’s only a matter of time before more conferences join them in that train of thought.
In the meantime, ask yourself why we as a country have had such a terrible national response to the pandemic that has caused this cancellation, wonder what will happen next, and wear a mask.