C-USA cancels spring art

Conference USA announced on Thursday night that it is canceling spring football practice for its member schools.

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North Texas announced on Thursday that it has canceled its football team’s spring game and pro day in addition to the Don January Golf Classic.

UNT made the announcement in conjunction with Conference USA’s notice that it has canceled spring practices in all sports for its member schools.

The league’s board of directors approved the move following discussions with the athletic directors of the conference’s schools.

All other team activities will be governed by NCAA rules within each C-USA institution’s discretion.

UNT and C-USA made the decision to end spring events in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus. C-USA previously canceled the remainder of its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and all of its spring sports.

The latest announcements essentially shut down all athletic activities at UNT and across C-USA.

The Mean Green were set to begin spring practice on Monday and didn’t get a single workout in.

“The UNT athletic department is committed to the health and safety of our student-athletes, staff and fans as we navigate this unprecedented time,” UNT athletic director Wren Baker said in a prepared statement earlier this week when the school shut down all of its athletic facilities.

UNT gradually saw its athletic department grind to a stop over the last few days. C-USA canceled the remainder of its men’s and women’s conference basketball tournaments last week.

The entire spring sports season was canceled on Monday night.

The remainder of the activities associated with the spring sports season at UNT were called off on Thursday.

The Mean Green’s spring game and the Don January golf tournament are both key events of the spring at UNT. The Don January is one of the program’s main fundraisers of the school year.

College athletic programs will already be hit hard by the cancellation of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament that brings in excess of $700 million in television and ticket revenue annually.

Spring practice and its spring game were going to be particularly important to UNT’s football program this year. The Mean Green are coming off a 4-8 season and must replace several key players, including quarterback Mason Fine.

UNT’s pro day would have been a key opportunity for Fine to make an impression on NFL scouts. Fine was not invited to the NFL scouting combine despite throwing for 12,505 yards and 93 touchdowns in his career.

UNT’s coaches have spent the last few days telling their players that their seasons, and in some cases their careers, had come to an end.

“It’s tough,” UNT softball coach Rodney DeLong said. “We are off to a great start and have a great group.”

DeLong and UNT tennis coach Sujay Lama told their players that their seasons were over on Monday.

UNT later closed all of its athletic facilities.

The final step came Thursday with announcements from C-USA and UNT that formally put an end to the hopes that any of the events associated with the spring at the school would take place this year.

“I feel for our student-athletes,” Baker said this week. “They work very hard, and sports is an important part of their lives.”

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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