FULLERTON, CALIF. >> University of Hawaii athletic director David Matlin said it has not been determined if the decision to suspend competition for his school’s spring sports will extend to practices.
Following orders from the presidents of the Big West Conference — a league in which UH fields several teams — the school suspended sporting events for teams competing in the spring semester over concerns about the coronavirus. That meant the cancellation of the Big West’s basketball tournaments, the UH volleyball’s match at Cal State Northridge on Friday and Saturday, and this weekend’s baseball series between the Rainbow Warriors and Chicago State.
Chicago State, which arrived in town on Wednesday, is making plans to return to Illinois on Thursday. Chicago State is a member of the Western Athletic Conference, which also suspended sports activities.
Matlin said situations are evolving hourly, and that it has not been determined how long the suspensions would last or whether they would impact a team’s availability to practice. The UH football team, under newly hired head coach Todd Graham, had planned to open spring training on March 27.
Meanwhile, the UH basketball teams were arranging to move up their flight reservations to depart California today. The Rainbow Warriors were scheduled to play UC Davis in tonight’s opening round of the Big West Tournament in the Honda Center in Irvine, Calif. The Rainbow Wahine defeated Fullerton in Wednesday’s opening round of the women’s tournament in Long Beach, Calif., and were set to face UC Santa Barbara in Friday’s semifinal in the Honda Center.
“It’s a surreal experience, and it’s still a surreal experience, and I think it will be for a while,” UH coach Eran Ganot said of the tournament cancellation that effectively ends the Rainbow Warriors’ season. “You knew it was going in that direction. You had a feeling it was. But there’s something to be said about the finality of the decision. Even if you saw it coming, it hits you pretty hard in a lot of different ways, particularly from an emotional standpoint, where you’re talking about a tremendous group of student-athletes. But then you have to shift gears and understand the big picture of what’s going on in the world.”