OGDEN — Weber State University has ended all organized sports activities on campus amid concerns over limiting the spread of novel coronavirus, which has halted most of the sports world and, in Utah, forced public schools and universities to enter a period of online instruction.
“Weber State Athletics has made the decision to prohibit all organized team athletically related activities until further notice,” a tweet from the athletic department said Tuesday morning. “The University leadership will continue to monitor and work closely with local government and health departments regarding the COVID-19 situation.”
The new statement highlights the evolving nature of the health crisis that has become a pandemic. Friday, WSU suspended athletic competition, in according with a Big Sky Conference decree, but said at the time that teams could still hold practice activities “in limited situations.”
“Sitting in my office alone wondering what is going on. No players, no football, no sports. Stay positive everyone. We will overcome this,” head football coach Jay Hill tweeted Tuesday morning. “We are resilient and can handle adversity. It will make us tougher.”
Along with the stop to campus activities, the NCAA has also prohibited in-person recruiting for all sports until at least April 15.
While the NCAA has canceled all spring championships and many conferences have canceled spring competition, the Big Sky has yet to decide the ultimate fate of its spring sports. Its current suspension is in place until April 15, commissioner Tom Wistrcill said Monday in a conference call, with further evaluation coming in the next several days.
Weber State football’s spring game now becomes less likely by the day. While the school has not announced an official decision, other schools around the conference have already canceled their spring game. The new prohibition on all team activity limits how much practice and conditioning players get before the game.
The CDC this week issued a new recommendation to cancel all gatherings over 50 people for the next eight weeks.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus, though the death toll in the U.S. reached 94 on Tuesday.
With cautionary examples like the fast spread of the virus in Italy, U.S. health and government officials have called upon all to limit interpersonal contact to stop the spread of the virus, helping limit its exposure to the most vulnerable and to keep doctors offices and hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.