Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte watches the video board during an NCAA college football game between Texas and Tulsa in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

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‘Hard piece of news to share’: Texas AD Chris Del Conte speaks on coronavirus cancellations

Posted March 13th, 2020

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Shortly after the Big 12 responded to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak with the cancellation of its member schools’ athletic competitions for the rest of the school year, Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte released the following statement:

We spent today talking to our coaches and as many of the student-athletes and teams as possible. I thought it was imperative that we shared with them all of the facts as we know them and what the next steps are. It’s an extremely difficult time for them, and we certainly share their pain and disappointment. But it’s also important for them to understand the magnitude of the situation and that these decisions are being made in the best interest of everyone’s health, safety and well-being. It is an unprecedented time in college athletics and it’s imperative we make every effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The most significant news of the day came this evening when, in addition to the Big 12’s previously announced suspension of athletics activities until March 29, the conference also decided to cancel all athletic competition for the remainder of the spring season. It was a hard piece of news to share with our teams since they’ve worked so hard in preparation for this year. The situation is still fluid as practices and other team activities remain suspended until March 29, but will be re-evaluated by the Big 12 at that time. Additionally, the NCAA is in discussion on how they’ll handle eligibility status for current winter and spring sports student-athletes.

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The other key update from our end is our response to campus extending spring break an additional week until March 29. During that time, we’re encouraging student-athletes to go home and take care of themselves, understanding that some will need to remain on campus. The dorms will continue to be available and dining halls are accessible, as well, but there will be no practice, strength and conditioning work, athletic training room availability or team functions. However, our sports medicine staff will be available for our student-athletes to contact remotely.

While the student-athletes are on break, our medical personnel will be developing mitigation strategies for athletics activities in anticipation of their return to campus. All facilities, dorms and the dining hall will be thoroughly deep-cleaned and sanitized to provide the safest possible environment for when they return. We are monitoring this situation in concert with our campus administration and the health and government agencies they are working with. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

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