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LINCOLN — Nebraska spring football has likely come to a halt for at least three weeks as the Big Ten announced on Friday that all “organized team activities” — including workouts and practices — will be stopped until at least April 6 as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the league announced. “The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus.”
The league had already canceled all competitions — plus all on- and-off campus recruiting — for the rest of the athletic year. The Big Ten basketball tournament was canceled Thursday. The NCAA has canceled all of its championships for the rest of the athletic year.
NU football coaches had planned on practicing again this week — and several times next week — before heading on spring break the week of March 23. The Huskers were then to return the week of March 30 and resume practice until the April 18 spring game.
All practices between now and April 6 have presumably been postponed, although, in theory, players could conduct their own unorganized workouts.
In a statement released Friday, Athletic Director Bill Moos said he fully supports the actions taken by the Big Ten to suspend all team activities.
“Safety of our students, coaches, staff and fans has been the driving force behind the tough, but necessary decisions that have been made,” Moos said in his statement.
He also said the athletic department will continue to provide resources to student-athletes, on or off campus. He also said he is “committed to representing” student-athletes’ best interests when it comes to discussing eligibility issues with the NCAA.
“As a former college football player and a parent of college student-athletes, I have great empathy for our young men and women who had their seasons cut short, particularly our seniors,” he said.
According to an NU spokesman, Nebraska will leave its facilities open to staff and student-athletes, including the weight room, where voluntary workouts conducted in small groups can still be held. Moos will next talk publicly at 6 p.m. Monday on his monthly radio hour with the Husker Sports Network.
The Husker football spring game hasn’t been canceled, although it could be rescheduled. Because the event is a practice, not a Big Ten competition, Nebraska could in theory still hold it if the conference lifts its suspension of organized team activities.
This comes a day after the NCAA announced it was canceling all remaining winter and spring championships.