The Big Sky Conference and UM canceled almost all athletic functions due to the spread of COVID-19, including all spring sports.
“It sure is a bummer, especially because I redshirted indoor,” said UM track athlete Cade Johnstone, who was preparing for the 2020 outdoor spring track season.
The Big Sky Conference announced on March 12 that it was canceling its basketball tournament. The Lady Griz had already lost out at the tournament, but the men’s team was sent home before playing a game.
After the Big Sky Tournament was canceled, the NCAA also canceled the entirety of its tournament on March 12.
According to a report by Sports Illustrated on March 18, the NCAA “likely won’t” give winter sports athletes another year of eligibility.
“Crazy to think my college hoops career is over with, thanks for the memories,” Kendal Manuel posted on his Instagram account on March 13.
UM football announced March 13 it was closing practices to spectators and media until further notice.
The Big Sky Conference President’s Council voted to cancel all of its competitions and championships. All practices and workouts for Big Sky sponsored teams were also canceled.
This ruling cut short the season for UM softball, golf and tennis. It also suspended the start of UM’s outdoor track season.
Campus administrators at UM will reconvene before April 3 to determine the status of practices beyond then.
The NCAA has not made a decision on whether athletes of spring sports that haven’t been played will be granted another year of eligibility.
“I’m lucky I’m not a fifth year and I have many more years to come,” said Johnstone.
NCAA’s Division II announced that it was planning to give spring athletes another year of eligibility, so UM lacrosse seniors were granted another year of playing.
“Another reason why playing for Griz Lacrosse and the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association is awesome,” said UM lacrosse in an Instagram post about the NCAA’s announcement. “Getting the band back together in 2021!”
UM’s next official athletic event scheduled is a soccer match against Gonzaga on August 20.
On March 30, the NCAA will vote on whether college athletes will get eligibility relief for the cancellations.