Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Spring Football, Game Up in the Air

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Spring Football, Game Up in the Air

Article excerpt

Pitt's spring football game and the rest of its spring athletic calendar are in doubt.

The ACC announced Thursday afternoon that it indefinitely suspended all athletic-related activities, including practices, games and recruiting, due to the spread of COVID-19.

ACC commissioner John Swofford said the health and safety concerns marked "uncharted territory" and the decision was made to "protect from the further spread of COVID-19." Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke supported the ACC's decision, releasing a statement shortly after.

"This decision was made with one priority in mind - the health and well-being of our student-athletes," Lyke said. "We are very cognizant of the disappointment that may be felt by our young people who worked and prepared so hard for their seasons. However, this is an unprecedented circumstance and we must prioritize safety and responsibility in our response to it. The decision to indefinitely suspend all competition, practices and recruiting is one we fully support.

"Our administrators, staff and coaches will remain actively engaged with all of our student-athletes, ensuring their well-being during this time of suspended athletics activity and distance learning."

Less than 24 hours earlier, Pitt declared its home athletic events would proceed "as previously scheduled." The university announced Wednesday afternoon that it would extend its spring break to March 23 and transition to "distance learning" for the remainder of the semester. However, a university statement read: "Pitt athletics may continue its practice and competition regimen."

The spring game was on, and there were no fan restrictions. But that changed Thursday.

Now, it's uncertain whether Pitt football will have its annual scrimmage, scheduled for April 11 at Heinz Field. Unless the coronavirus concerns are quelled in a matter of days - which seems unlikely - the Panthers will not resume spring practice Tuesday as previously scheduled. Pat Narduzzi's squad had held three practices when Pitt's spring break started, and the team intended to have 12 more sessions, with the 15th being the spring game. …

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