Utah Athletics Reacts To News Of Pac-12 Playing Conference-Only Schedule For Football, Other Sports
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah’s athletic department released a statement regarding the Pac-12 Conference’s decision to play conference-only schedules in multiple sports this fall.
On Friday, July 10, the Pac-12 announced that several fall sports “including football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, would schedule Conference-only games.”
“While we support the Pac-12 Conference’s decision today to only play conference games this fall in football, volleyball and soccer, we are disappointed for our student-athletes, coaches and fans,” Utah athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement. “We know it is particularly difficult to miss the rivalry matchups with BYU in these sports, and we look forward to continuing those as soon as we are able. These are truly unprecedented times, and we are working diligently to determine appropriate solutions while prioritizing the health and safety of everyone involved. Our conference and university leadership has provided great support and direction, informed by leading health experts and data. We will work with our colleagues at each of the non-conference institutions impacted by today’s decision to reschedule those contests, and we will provide more information about our schedules and our home events when they become available.”
Pac-12 statement on conference-only schedules
“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”
One day prior to the Pac-12 decision, the Big Ten became the first Power Five conference to move to a conference-only format for fall sports.
On July 8, the Ivy League became the first conference to cancel all of its fall sports. Since then, rumors have surfaced of other conferences joining in or moving football games to the spring of 2021.
Impact On Utah Football
News of the Pac-12’s move means that Utah football will not play non-conference opponents in BYU, Montana State, and Wyoming this season.
It will be the first time since the 2014 season that Utah will not play BYU in football. The rivalry was scheduled to take a two-year break after Utah scheduled a home-and-home series with Michigan in 2014 and 2015. However, the Cougars and Utes faced each other in the postseason in the 2015 Las Vegas Bowl.
Utah hasn’t played Wyoming since 2010 during the Utes’ last season as a member of the Mountain West Conference. The Cowboys are scheduled to play against Utah in Salt Lake City in 2025.