As with all intercollegiate athletics conferences and institutions across the country, the Big South Conference and its member institutions have been exploring efficiencies to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While minimizing the impact on the quality of the Big South student-athlete experience was a primary guideline in the evaluation of appropriate efficiencies, all areas of conference operations, regular season competition, and championships formats received scrutiny.
The thorough and painstaking process resulted in the approval by the Big South Conference Executive Committee of several actions for the 2020-21 season. Those actions include
- Delaying for one year the neutral site format for the Hercules Tires Big South Conference Basketball Championships. The conference will return to on-campus sites for both men’s and women’s basketball in March 2021, then move to Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C., in 2022.
- Seven sports — women’s soccer, men’s soccer, volleyball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, softball and baseball — will limit its championship fields to just the top four teams in 2020-21.
- The soccer, volleyball, lacrosse and softball championships will be held on-campus. Baseball will remain at SEGRA Stadium in Fayetteville, N.C., and the tennis championships will be at a previously approved central location.
- Women’s and men’s golf championships will each be shortened by one day in 2021.
- Outdoor track and field will remain a three-day event, but will be moved from early May to mid-April when classes are still in session.
- The cross-country championships will be moved to a central location and will be moved to a Friday afternoon.
- Established minimum standards for basketball scheduling, staffing and operations budgets will be suspended for one year.
- Football and basketball media days, as well as most planned conference meetings, will be held virtually.
“The actions taken by the Big South Executive Committee are unprecedented, but we are in unprecedented times,” said Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander. “While we couldn’t avoid some impact, I am proud of the collaborative process our member institutions undertook to be strategic in protecting the Big South student-athlete experience long-term.
“With the recent expansion of membership in a smart, regional manner, success in corporate partnership growth, and excellence on the field of play, the future of the Big South remains extremely bright.”
The 2020-21 Big South championship schedule and hosts are still being finalized and will be announced at a later date.