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‘We All Will be Ready Whenever it is Safe to Compete’

The health and safety of our more than 500 student-athletes always has been, and will continue to be, our number one priority.”

On Aug. 11, the Big Ten Conference announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season, including all regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to COVID-19.

The fall sports included in this announcement are men's and women's cross country, field hockey, football, men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball. The conference will continue to evaluate options regarding these sports, including the possibility of spring competition. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports also will continue to be evaluated.

Following is a statement in response from Jim Phillips, Combe Family Vice President for Athletics & Recreation.

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Dear members of the Northwestern community,

Our entire Northwestern community is heartbroken by the necessary decision made today by the Big Ten Conference, even as we stand in full confidence we are making the right decision. The health and safety of our more than 500 student-athletes always has been, and will continue to be, our number one priority.

After countless conversations with medical experts across the Conference and the country, the overwhelming evidence indicates there are too many unknowns for us to safely and confidently move forward with fall competition at this time.

There are so many who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to create a safe environment on campus, and I am exceptionally proud of the preparation that has gone on, and continues as we prepare for the safe arrival of our students to kick off the fall academic quarter.

But, of course, we are devastated for the young men and women who had their worlds upended today, after a lifetime of preparation. Our commitment to them will not waver, from scholarships, to housing, to performance, medical, mental health, academic and professional development support.

Northwestern is an incredible place because of the people. There is no doubt that this family will continue to support one another — from students to staff to faculty and alumni — and we all will be ready whenever it is safe to compete.