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

Fall sports have been postponed until the spring.
Author:
Publish date:

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

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

Wisconsin Republicans aim to end governor's mask mandate

They've introduced a resolution to remove the governor's emergency powers.

Ted Schweich

Community group hopes to install billboard to get neighbor a kidney

A group called "Team Ted" aims to raise $5,000 to find their friend a kidney donor.

Andrew Palmer

Charges: Coach raped teenage girl on Minnesota basketball team

The 33-year-old head coach has been charged in connection to the alleged crimes.

radio station, microphone

WCCO Radio's program director leaves the company

It's not clear why John Hanson and the station parted ways.

Minneapolis skyline

Minneapolis a step closer to banning facial recognition technology

There are concerns about it leading to a surveillance state, and that it could harm disadvantaged communities.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, January 22

Nearly 50,000 Minnesotans have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

police lights

Police recover more than 14 pounds of meth, 4,000 pills during drug bust

Three people have been arrested and charged in connection to the drugs.

Gopher hockey

Gophers respond to drop in rankings with 10-goal outburst

It had been 17 years since the Gophers last scored 10 goals in a game.

snow

Winter storm watch issued where snow could exceed 6 inches in MN

Snow will spread from west to east starting Saturday morning in western Minnesota.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Amber Fiser

Gophers' 2020 softball schedule loaded with NCAA tourney teams

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