MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With the sports world being disrupted by the COVID-19 virus pandemic, West Virginia football Neal Brown will err on the side of caution moving forward with spring practice after the Big 12’s cancellation of all athletic events through March 29, but the situation is fluid.
WVU has already canceled in person classes after next week’s spring break and students who leave town are asked to remain home in the meantime. With the cancellation of marquee college basketball tournaments and spring sports in other conferences, as well as the suspensions of NBA, NHL and MLB games, college football’s spring practice schedules come into question, but as of now, the Mountaineers will continue after spring break until told otherwise.
“It’s a fluid situation. We’re going to monitor the events and situation nationally and locally on how to make a determination of how to move forward for the best of all involved,” Brown said. “Safety is our No. 1 concern — safety for our student-athletes and safety for our staff.”
Brown said the team was given precautions on how to handle the situation, and currently, the program has “tried to stay ahead of this the best we can.”
Team meetings and educational meetings with medical personnel have taken place.
Right now, outside of practice being canceled through March 29, the biggest change to a normal spring is how recruiting is being handled with on- and off-campus visits. No recruiting visits, official or unofficial, will be permitted to campus, while off-campus recruiting trips were also suspended.
The athletic department will reevaluate all circumstances up to March 29.
“I want our student-athletes, coaches and fans to be safe and for our department to follow the recommendations of the medical professionals,” WVU athletic director Shane Lyons said in a statement. “This is a necessary precaution to ensure the safety of our University, community, teams and support staff. The situation is fluid and we will monitor it daily to make the best decisions for all involved.”
Brown said certain players from outside the United States, including true freshman cornerback Jairo Faverus, of Amsterdam, will remain in town.
“We are keeping all of our student-athletes who are from highly affected areas … they are indeed staying here.”
Brown also mentioned that the university feels WVU is a safe environment for remaining student-athletes who will not go home.
For remaining sports currently in season, such as remaining baseball home games following March 29, WVU is discussing whether fans will be permitted.
“We’re still reviewing this and other situations and will relay the information when it is determined for sure,” a WVU official said in a statement to The Dominion Post.