Athletic director in support of Pac-12 decision to cancel games

Over 800 COVID-19 tests were administered to student-athletes; seven tested positive



WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun said he spoke to student-athletes and coaches Tuesday night following the Pac-12’s decision to cancel all athletic compeitions for the year.

CODY SCHOELER, Evergreen reporter

WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun expressed support for the Pac-12’s decision to postpone sporting events for the year. 

Chun said in a press conference on Thursday that he met with student-athletes and coaches Tuesday night following the Pac-12’s decision

“To have to tell them that we need to hit pause on their athletic goals and dreams and aspirations is a tough meeting that unfortunately I’m all too familiar with,” he said.

The meeting had a very somber mood, he said.

“I think everyone has been on a full spectrum of emotions this week,” Chun said. “It’s heartbreaking, it’s disappointing. You’re still in shock a little bit because of the magnitude of this decision.”

The decision to postpone sports for the remainder of 2020 was made based on health and safety, Chun said. The conference made the decision they believed was best for student-athletes and coaches.

He said WSU was one of the schools getting ready to begin the next phase of football practice, which would have meant close contact between student-athletes.

“That’s where we just decided we just couldn’t get ourselves to a comfortable place as a league to go forward from a health and safety standpoint,” he said.

The economic ramifications of the postponement of sports for the remainder of the year are unclear so far, Chun said.

The conference-only schedule released by the Pac-12 earlier this month, before the full cancellation, caused WSU to lose two home, non-conference football games. This led to the athletic department furloughing non-contract employees and reducing salaries for some contracted employees.

He said the department is expecting losses in ticket revenue but does not have an exact number yet.

“I can’t forecast it today because it’s just too early, but we know they will be significant,” he said.

The WSU athletic department reported Thursday that they administered over 800 COVID-19 tests to student-athletes and have received seven positive results. 

Chun said the ability to play sports in 2021 will depend on the status of COVID-19 and the availability of testing. The conference has not started to plan a spring football season because they know they still have time and a lot can change.

“I don’t know if it’s feasible, but I know we’re going to do our best to see if we can make it feasible,” he said. “I think we owe it to our student-athletes to see if there’s an option out there that makes sense.”

Winter sports are also affected by the postponement; both the men’s and women’s basketball teams lost their non-conference schedules, which were set to take place at the end of 2020.

Chun said there is no plan yet on how to handle the basketball seasons. They are going to let the dust settle before making any decision, he said.

“We know when we’re not going to start basketball,” he said, “but I can’t definitively tell you when we are going to start basketball other than we have a gate in which we’re allowed to start basketball.”