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Mountain West suspends spring sports due to coronavirus

Updated March 12, 2020 - 12:02 pm

UNLV’s spring sports seasons came to a sudden halt Thursday, with the Mountain West suspending all competition in wake of the growing coronavirus crisis.

“The health and well-being of student-athletes, as well as the campus and general communities, is of utmost priority,” the Mountain West said in a statement. “Therefore, the Board has determined the most prudent course of action is to align with the recommendations of public health care and government officials to help limit the spread of the virus.”

That decision means uncertain immediate futures for baseball, softball, women’s track and field, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s golf and women’s tennis.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans is our top priority,” UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois said in a statement. “We support the Mountain West’s decision and will continue to evaluate and assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with local health officials, our conference and campus colleagues, continuing to follow federal, state and NSHE (Nevada System of Higher Education) guidelines and best practices.”

Baseball coach Stan Stolte said in a text message that he deferred any comment to UNLV’s statement.

Men’s golf coach Dwaine Knight said in a statement that the focus would be on helping the players academically.

“We want to play when possible but we want to be safe for the players,” Knight said. “… It is a new world for all of us!!”

The conference said it was up to each school whether to continue with or begin spring football practices. There was no immediate word on UNLV’s plans. The Rebels were expected to begin spring practices under first-year coach Marcus Arroyo in the next couple of week.

Arroyo tweeted that “all recruiting related activities & public visits” through April 30 would be suspended “while we continue to monitor and adjust to today’s changing environmental landscape.”

UNLV and UNR, also a Mountain West member, issued a joint statement Wednesday that spring events would not be played in front of spectators.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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