CHARLOTTESVILLE – Virginia and Virginia Tech won’t be holding spring football or any other sporting events this season.
The ACC announced the official cancellation of all spring sports, a decision that was widely expected after the league indefinitely suspended sports last week.
“Our top priority remains the health and safety of our student-athletes as well as our fans, communities and the overall well-being of others during these uncharted times,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a statement that accompanied the announcement. “We are particularly disappointed for our student-athletes and will continue to work with our membership to assess what is appropriate in the future.”
That means neither the Cavaliers nor the Hokies will hold spring football practices, pro days for NFL scouts or their annual spring games. UVA was scheduled to play its spring game April 18 at Scott Stadium, with the Hokies taking the field at Lane Stadium the following weekend, on April 25.
UVA also announced the cancellation of its spring fundraising tour. Tech did not have an update on any possible changes to its spring fundraising schedule.
The ACC announcement ends hopes that football spring games and other events even later in the spring, like baseball’s College World Series, could be postponed until July. Virginia baseball coach Brian O’Connor addressed the prospect of delaying his sport’s postseason when he met with the media on Friday.
O’Connor said he didn’t “hold out much hope” but that baseball programs could ramp up and be ready to go in fairly short order.
“You can do it within a couple of weeks,” said O’Connor. “These guys are highly motivated, they're not going to go home and sit on the couch. They're going to work out. They all have aspirations of playing the game at the highest level. They're going to continue their throwing programs and continue to train. I would imagine something like that can happen within a couple of weeks.”
Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall was among the first in the nation to suspend football activities, a decision he made last Wednesday. Friday, athletic director Carla Williams praised his forward thinking and called him “really, really principled.”
“For us, sports is never really the only thing, anyway. And so we made decisions based on what’s best for the community as a whole,” Williams said. “And so I’m proud of him for making that decision early, because it made it easier for the rest of our colleagues.”
Earlier Tuesday, Virginia Tech broke its week-long silence on the coronavirus situation, releasing a statement from athletic director Whit Babcock.
“Virginia Tech Athletics recognizes the disruption and uncertainty that the COVID-19 situation has caused for all individuals associated with the Virginia Tech community, particularly our student-athletes and their families,” Babcock said in the statement. “The safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans continues to be our highest priority.
“Virginia Tech Athletics continues to be in regular communication with University, ACC leadership and Virginia Tech Athletics Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Mark Rogers, as we monitor developments related to the coronavirus. We are all navigating an unprecedented situation that continues to evolve daily.”
Tech coaches and athletes are still not available to the media.