Publish date:

Gophers' Mark Coyle expects pandemic will have 'impact' on winter sports schedules

Fall sports have been postponed until the spring.
Author:

The Big Ten's unprecedented postponement of all fall sports has been met with optimism from University of Minnesota Athletics Director Mark Coyle, though through the glass-half-full approach to playing in the springs comes doubt for what could happen with winter sports. 

Speaking with Gopher announcer Mike Grimm, Coyle said he's already expected potential changes to the schedules for winter sports teams, including basketball, hockey, wrestling, swimming and diving, and indoor track and field. 

"Obviously, I do think there will be an impact on those schedules for those sports that will come up next," Coyle said. "We don't know what that impact will look like. Again, we're going to rely on our medical experts to give us the most up-to-date information so we can provide that safe environment."

While winter sports teams wait on pins and needles, fall sports were postponed until the spring by the Big Ten. The decision was particularly confusing for football fans, who just last week were greeted with the Big Ten releasing a 10-game conference schedule that would've seen the Gophers face rivals Wisconsin and Iowa in the first four weeks of the season. 

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren released the schedule with the caveat that there was no guarantee games would be played, but why release the schedule at all if less than a week later the season was put on ice?

"We wanted to provide a schedule for our student-athletes and to our coaches so they could start to prepare for the season, but we also needed to do all that logistical stuff behind the scenes. That's why that schedule was put together," Coyle explained. 

Minnesota opened its football training camp August 7, but just as they were set to transition into padded practices the Big Ten slowed teams down. 

"When we started, there's a two-day period where you just do shorts and t-shirts, you do conditioning and light work, and then you start to put on the helmets and the pads," said Coyle. "As we started to make that transition over the weekend, the Big Ten put out a statement asking people to pause the workouts, so we still had workouts but they were more like walkthroughs, very light in what they were doing."

Coyle said "we still don't have an answer for contact tracing," which led to concerns about how potential COVID-19 outbreaks would be contained across the Big Ten. 

"As we looked at going to the pads we just felt like we needed to hit the pause button and postpone the season until the spring," said Coyle. "It gives us a chance to get more medical information, it gives us a chance to learn from our peers across the Big Ten conference. Our goal is to play a safe season where everybody is healthy and safe for the spring."

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' defense fuels win over Pelicans

The Wolves' have bought in on the defensive end as part of a 2-0 start.

Minnesota Wild

Ryan Hartman's OT goal helps Wild stay undefeated

The Wild improved to 4-0 with a win over the Ducks.

Mar'Keise Irving / Gopher Football

Gophers pound Maryland to stay in Big Ten West race

Four different players scored a rushing touchdown in a 34-16 victory over Maryland.

Father Paul Kubista at St. Mary of Czestochowa

Controversy after Delano priest shares vaccine misinformation in church bulletin

Father Paul Kubista is pastor at St. Mary of Czestochowa Catholic Church.

robberies

Mel-O-Glaze, DreamHaven Books robbed at gunpoint minutes apart

The businesses were hit by three robbers just six minutes apart on Oct. 21.

Cambridge house explosion

Explosion destroys house in Cambridge, 5 injured

The explosion occurred early Saturday morning on the 33000 block of Hillary Circle.

MAHMOUD MOHAMED HAMADA

Charges: Lyft driver sexually assaulted woman in her home

The defendant is being held on a $100,000 bond.

Pixabay - black bear

Black bear bites professional baseball player in western Wisconsin

The former MSU-Mankato star was bitten in his back.

mickey moore driver's license shared

Beleaguered Ward 9 city council candidate loses Strib endorsement

Mickey Moore has faced questions in recent days about where he actually lives.

Related

high school basketball

MSHSL releases plan for winter sports, fall postseason

There will be no state tournament for fall sports.

Screen Shot 2019-11-13 at 4.43.39 PM

Speculation brewing that Big Ten football could start in October

The reports come less than a month after all fall Big Ten sports were postponed.

Bob Motzko, Gophers hockey

Gophers season opener postponed due to COVID protocols

Minnesota has to wait another week to open the season.

Marcus Carr

What the Gophers' starting 5 could look like next season

It's very possible that Minnesota's lineup features three new starters.

Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 12.27.38 PM

Here is the updated 8-game Gopher football schedule

A huge battle against Michigan to open the season.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines

Gophers game still on despite University of Michigan COVID-19 lockdown

The stay in place order at the University of Michigan is in effect through Election Day.

Amber Fiser

Gophers' 2020 softball schedule loaded with NCAA tourney teams

Minnesota is fresh off a trip to the Women's College World Series.