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Wolf Pack’s director of athletics talks postponed season, future outlook

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 6:54 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Nevada’s Director of Athletics - Doug Knuth - says the Mountain West Conference’s decision to postpone fall sports due to COVID-19 was a “gut-punch.”

”I obviously support the decision and believe it’s the right decision,” said Knuth. “But boy, it’s hard.”

Wolf Pack football, volleyball, women’s soccer and cross country won’t compete in 2020. The Mountain West made the fateful decision just five days after first shortening the season and pushing it back a month.

As far as any changes in those five days, Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said “there was really nothing other than the continued unknown.”

The conference has yet to make adjustments to winter sports, which typically begin in late-October.

“Right now, our plan is to start winter sports on time,” said Thompson. But as we’ve found out in the last couple of weeks, couple of days: this can change on a moment’s notice.”

Knuth, expressing gratitude for the athletes, coaches and staff who resumed activities and adhered to strict safety protocols, says he believes a massive spring season could happen. There’s the chance all of Nevada’s sports - football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, cross country, track and field, tennis and golf - could all compete at the same time.

”We’re going to try and figure out a way to play in the spring,” said Knuth, citing the obvious logistical challenges. “How we do it, I don’t have those answers, but those are things we have time now to figure out.”

Losing sports means losing money. Knuth says whether sports return or not, Nevada expects to have at least a $10-million deficit.

“If we don’t play football or basketball or any other sports this whole year, you can guess what that’ll look like,” said Knuth. “It’s not going to be good.”

But Knuth also says the Wolf Pack will honor all financial aid commitments to its athletes. He adds with no competition in the near future, Nevada will also make sure it continues to aid its players physically, emotionally, socially and mentally.”

“We’re not playing games, we’re not competing, we won’t have a win-loss record here for the unforeseeable future,” said Knuth. “But there’s a way we can support our athletes.”

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