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Arizona football suspends all team activities in response to coronavirus crisis

arizona-wildcats-college-football-spring-practice-coronavirus-sumlin-ncaa-cancel-suspend-2020 Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Even an Arizona Wildcats team that isn’t in its official season is taking a break while the world deals with a global pandemic.

The UA football team has indefinitely suspended all team activities, including spring practice, in response to the worldwide coronavirus epidemic, which as of Thursday night had produced 1,663 confirmed cases in the U.S. including nine in Arizona.

Arizona did not have any workouts this week while the school was on Spring Break after holding four practices between March 2-6. The team was scheduled to return to the field March 17 for the first of three practices next week but that’s been put on hold, as the UA won’t resume classes until March 18 and they’ll nearly all be online.

The Spring Game, currently scheduled for April 4, is also in limbo.

Arizona’s decision follows those of dozens of other football programs to suspend activities, including on-campus recruiting, and is the latest in a series to college sports over the past two days. Earlier Thursday the NCAA announced that all remaining winter and spring college championships, including the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, had been cancelled, and that came not long after the Pac-12 had halted the men’s basketball tournament in Las Vegas and also halted all other sports.

Coming off a 4-8 season, the Wildcats were hoping to use spring practice to break in an entirely new defense being implemented by coordinator Paul Rhoads. He’s one of four assistants head coach Kevin Sumlin hired for the 2020 season along with defensive line coach Stan Eggen, outside linebackers coach Andy Buh and running backs coach A.J. Steward. Sumlin is also looking for a defensive backs coach after Demetrice Martin left for the same job at Colorado on the first day of spring ball.