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Pitt coaches respond to ACC, NCAA sports shutdowns

ACC athletic activities were suspended on Thursday over COVID-19 concerns

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 26 Quick Lane Bowl - Pitt v Eastern Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Thursday, precautions were taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, resulting in the suspension of all activities related to athletics in the ACC as well as the cancellation of the NCAA’s tournaments and championships. Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke took part in the ACC’s decision-making process and emphasized in a statement that responsible action had to be taken despite its cost to student-athletes. Since the announcements, several Pitt coaches have responded in public statements.

Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi was among the first to address the matter.

”Unfortunate circumstances will not allow us to host unofficial recruiting visits this spring, but we want to make sure everyone stays safe,” Narduzzi said in a Twitter post. “Take care of yourself and your families, get the job done in class, and we look forward to hopefully getting together in the not-too-distant future.”

Pitt gymnastics coach Samantha Snider also discussed the news publicly. Her team was two-thirds of the way through its regular-season schedule when the decision was made to end all athletic activities.

”Heartbreaking end to our season, but I couldn’t be more proud of [Pitt gymnastics],” Snider said via Twitter. “This team created something special this year. A special thank you to our seniors. You created a legacy that will be remembered for years to come. Thank you for making your mark on Pitt gym history.”

Pitt wrestling coach Keith Gavin was impacted more than most by the news, as his team had just performed well in the ACC tournament, finishing second, and was expected to put on a good showing in the national tournament in Minneapolis. He issued a statement on Friday.

”This is obviously a very unfortunate situation,” Gavin said in a statement. “I feel for all the student-athletes, especially the seniors, who have worked so hard for their opportunity to compete at the NCAA tournament this year. While it is hard to accept the fact that our season is over and there will be no championship tournament, I fully understand that this was not an easy decision and one that was made with the bigger picture in mind.”

Other Pitt coaches, like Jeff Capel, were less directly impacted by the decision. The men’s basketball team’s season ended with a loss in the ACC tournament on Wednesday, so the stoppage in play did not cut its season short. However, the call to suspend recruiting activities will delay Capel’s pursuit of targets like William Jeffress and Femi Odukale. He has yet to make a statement on the matter, as have the majority of the school’s coaches.