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Britain Covey - Utah Utes
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Utah Football To Continue Practicing Despite Cancellation Of Fall Season

Utah Utes wide receiver Britain Covey (18) practices at the Spence and Cleone Eccles Football Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 5, 2020. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There will be no Utah football in 2020, following an announcement by the Pac-12 that they have postponed all fall sports until at least the end of the year.

However, the Utah football program still plans on practicing this week, albeit non-contact, with the intention of utilizing the 20-hours-per-week that the NCAA grants, according to Athletic Director Mark Harlan.

Utah is scheduled to practice Monday through Saturday with three conditioning workouts and three practices arranged throughout any given week.

January 1, 2021, is 143 days away. Why does Utah feel so compelled to continue to put the players through grueling workout regimes?

Safety & Well-Being The Main Priority

“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott during the cancellation of fall sports webinar that took place this afternoon,  “Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”

Also on the webinar was Arizona State Athletic Director Ray Anderson, University of Oregon President Michael Schill and Oregon State’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Dr. Doug Aukerman.

Everybody on the webinar shared the same sentiment, “how can we (as a conference) make sure that we provide the safest opportunities, safest environment for our student-athletes to compete and to exercise when social distancing can no longer be maintained,” Aukerman said.

Furthermore, Scott clarified that “competition would be restarting January 1. In terms of sports and continuing to support student-athletes in terms of their training, their workouts, every school can decide what exactly that means, but sports, I expect that is going to continue.”

Is continuing to practice, for this week “at least”, in the best interest of the health and safety of student-athletes? Decide for yourself.

Whittingham’s Statement

“We will continue to put our focus on our player’s academics and their development,” Whittingham said in a statement released this afternoon by Utah Football.

Utah, along with the other 11 Pac-12 institutions, will continue to navigate the current pandemic with the hope that a spring football season can eventuate. However, due to the uncertainty and unknown surrounding the COVID-19 virus, there are still many questions that require answers before any competitive college football is played.

Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.

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