MSU volleyball 2 (copy)

Montana State players celebrate during their match against Montana on Oct. 29 at Shroyer Gym.

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The Big Sky Conference announced Friday evening that its Presidents’ Council has delayed the beginning of competition for Olympic sports this fall. This does not include football, which the conference said in a press release will be decided on at a later date.

Soccer, volleyball, and men’s and women’s cross-country and non-championship seasons for men’s and women’s tennis and softball can begin Sept. 18. Men’s and women’s golf can compete on Sept. 14.

Conference commissioner Tom Wistrcill told the Chronicle Friday afternoon that no decision had been made about the Big Sky’s nonconference football games. For Montana State, that includes hosting Long Island (Sept. 5) and Dixie State (Sept. 19). MSU’s game at Utah on Sept. 12 was canceled when the Pac-12 moved to a conference-only schedule due to coronavirus concerns.

Wistrcill told the Chronicle earlier this month that he was “about 50-50” on the likelihood of football happening on schedule this fall. He also said earlier this week that the end of the month was still the target date for making a decision on when football would be played.

Each Big Sky member can reschedule nonconference contests impacted by Friday’s decision. Montana State has volleyball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s cross-country and women’s golf programs.

The Big Sky added that teams may continue with permissible athletics activities while abiding by NCAA legislation, campus policies as well as local and state regulations.

Friday’s decision was made with input from a variety of administrators, health and safety officials as well as the conference’s athletic directors and student-athlete advisory committee.

The new start date, according to the press release, will allow each school to stagger the return to campuses for teams while providing additional time to adjust return-to-play protocols and maintain competitive opportunities.

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Colton Pool can be reached at cpool@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.