Skip to main content

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

Fall sports have been postponed until the spring.

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

Police tape

Woman dies after being shot in Minneapolis

The woman in her 20s died at the scene.


Twin Cities liquor store worker offers shoes off her feet to unhoused man

The man asked for boxes to use as makeshift shoes before the woman offered hers.

Screen Shot 2022-12-08 at 2.19.37 PM

St. Paul PD releases footage showing fatal police shooting of Howard Johnson

The 24-year-old died after being shot by a St. Paul officer Monday night.


22 dogs taken in by Animal Humane Society from shuttered breeder

The dogs were taken in after a report stated there were too many on a single property.


Latest on the 2 snowstorms set to impact Minnesota

The first arrives Thursday night into Friday before a bigger system comes next week.


Cop who pepper-sprayed downtown protesters received $150K payout

Samantha Belcourt said she "feared for her life."

Powerball Minnesota lottery

$1 million Powerball prize won in Twin Cities

The winning ticket was sold in Chanhassen for Wednesday's draw.

Screen Shot 2022-12-08 at 9.16.18 AM

Animales Barbeque Co. looks to open brick-and-mortar location

The popular food truck has partnered with the owner of Billy Sushi.

Christmas presents

Here are some 2022 holiday shipping deadlines to keep in mind

Most deadlines are a few days before Christmas Eve.


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.

Marcus Carr

What the Gophers' starting 5 could look like next season

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

Bob Motzko, Gophers hockey

Gophers season opener postponed due to COVID protocols

Minnesota has to wait another week to open the season.

high school basketball

MSHSL releases plan for winter sports, fall postseason

There will be no state tournament for fall sports.

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.

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

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.