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Arizona AD Dave Heeke praises Pac-12 plan, thanks Wildcat fans for support
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Arizona AD Dave Heeke praises Pac-12 plan, thanks Wildcat fans for support

League's move to conference-only schedule nixes UA games vs. Hawaii, Portland State, Texas Tech

The University of Arizona “fully supports” the Pac-12’s move to a conference-only schedule for fall sports, Wildcats athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement Saturday morning.

The league on Friday announced the shift for fall sports such as football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. The decision by the league’s CEO Group followed a similar one by the Big Ten the previous day.

Both conferences said doing so will give them more control and flexibility amid the coronavirus pandemic. It also will enable streamlined testing and safety protocols.

As a result, Arizona has dropped home games against Hawaii (Aug. 29) and Portland State (Sept. 5) and a road game against Texas Tech (Sept. 19). The Pac-12 said it will release a new schedule by the end of July. The Wildcats were supposed to start training camp on July 31, but those plans are now in flux.

Here is Heeke’s statement in full:

“Arizona Athletics fully supports the Pac-12 Conference’s decision to move to a conference-only schedule for fall sports. Friday’s announcement from the Pac-12 aligns with the guiding principles of President (Robert C.) Robbins, the University of Arizona, our athletics department and the NCAA, which put the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, staff and our communities as the top priority.

“Moving forward, our athletics department will support our fall sports programs with the impact of this decision. We will also begin reaching out to our fans, donors and supporters about this decision’s impact on ticketing and scheduling. The Wildcat Family has been tremendously patient, dedicated and compassionate during these trying times, and I want to thank you all again for your support.

“We will navigate the unprecedented times of this global pandemic and continue to consult with our campus partners, as well as state and local government authorities, on our safe and healthy reentry processes. Arizona Athletics remains committed to partnering with our local health leaders to protect our community.”

Contact sports reporter Michael Lev at 573-4148 or mlev@tucson.com. On Twitter @michaeljlev 

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