Leer en español: ¿Qué hay para hacer si se cancelan los deportes de BYU?

The Daily Universe is answering student, staff and parents’ questions about how the coronavirus will impact the BYU community during Fall Semester 2020 in a series of stories. Submit questions at

Given the current circumstances, whether or not BYU sports will return this fall is anyone’s guess.

The Cougar football team has already lost five games from its 2020 schedule after the Southeastern, Big Ten and Pac-12 announced they were moving to conference-only seasons. BYU’s remaining fall sports teams recently had the beginning of their seasons pushed back until Sept. 24 by the West Coast Conference, causing many Cougar fans to wonder whether college sports will return at all this year.

For a number of BYU students, the absence of college sports this fall would mean one less outlet from the daily stresses of school.

“I would be devastated if college sports were canceled,” said Addysen Kerr, a BYU communications major from Cleveland, Ohio. “It’s been super nice to just be able to go to or watch a volleyball or basketball game throughout the week and take my mind off things. It’s stress-relieving. Without college sports though, nobody has that option.”

BYU communications student Addysen Kerr throws up the “Y” on the field at LaVell Edwards Stadium after the Cougars defeated USC 30-27 in overtime on Sept. 14, 2019. (Addysen Kerr)

If Cougar sports are canceled this fall, what are BYU students and sports enthusiasts to do?

Although a fall-sports cancelation would be difficult to accept, a number of fallback options remain for BYU students to take their minds off their schoolwork and emulate the excitement felt at live sporting events.

Re-watch BYU’s best games and other BYU sports content

Likely the closest Cougar fans can get to watching a live BYU sporting event is by reliving an old one. BYUtv.org has 160 full-length Cougar football game replays available, dating back to the 1979 season. Due to broadcasting rights, BYUtv doesn’t have every single game from each season on its website. However, BYU fans can still find a number of all-time classic games on BYUtv, such as the Cougars’ comeback win over SMU in 1980 and their national-championship-sealing victory over Michigan in 1984.

BYUtv also has over 250 men’s basketball full-game replays available, dating back to the 1979-80 season. If students want to see what Cougar legend Danny Ainge’s style of play was like in college, they can stream games from the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons. If fans want to relive the days of “Jimmermania,” a number of games from the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons are available for them to watch.

The BYUtv and BYU Cougars YouTube pages also have a number of hidden gems for Cougar fans who might not have enough time to watch an entire game replay. Both YouTube pages feature video archive footage of highlights and interviews across all BYU sports going back to the 1970s. Athlete profile videos can also be found on both pages, giving fans an inside look at the personal upbringing of some of BYU’s student-athletes.

Read about Cougar legends

Reading a book may seem like the antithesis of watching a live sporting event for some fans. However, several pieces of reading material exist for Cougar fans to obtain a better sense of the history of BYU athletics. A book written by the Deseret News’ Jeff Call called “100 things BYU fans should know & do before they die” brings to light lesser-known information and stories throughout BYU sports history. BYU Associate Athletic Director of Communications Duff Tittle’s book “What it means to be a Cougar” features several firsthand accounts of notable Cougar athletes about their personal experiences competing for BYU.

A number of biographies from former Cougar athletes and coaches also exist for fans to take a deeper look into the personal lives of former BYU greats. Cougar legends such as Stan Watts, Kyle Van Noy, Shawn Bradley, Danny Ainge and Jimmer Fredette have had biographies written about them by esteemed sportswriters. Additional BYU greats such as LaVell Edwards, Steve Young, Jim McMahon and Chad Lewis have all taken the time to write their own autobiographies. The pandemic could be the perfect time for Cougar fans to sit down and find out more about what allowed these former athletes and coaches to accomplish what they did.

Follow the pros

Even if college sports do get canceled, a number of professional sports leagues will likely be in full swing for fans to watch come this fall. The remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season, which is slated to restart on July 30, will last until at least the beginning of October at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The 2020 MLB season began on July 23 and is scheduled to end in September, with the playoffs lasting until the end of October. As of July 23, the NFL was planning on carrying out its 2020 season as scheduled, which would last from September to January.

Former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, now with the New Orleans Saints, runs through contact during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Jan. 13, 2019. Hill is one of several former Cougars now in the pros who will be competing this fall. (Butch Dill/AP Photo)

The return of these professional sports leagues would give BYU students and fans a number of opportunities to follow and cheer for former Cougar athletes. Kyle Van Noy of the Miami Dolphins, Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints, Fred Warner of the San Francisco 49ers, Daniel Sorensen of the Kansas City Chiefs and Jamaal Williams of the Green Bay Packers are all BYU Football alumni who should see plenty of playing time on their respective NFL teams this fall. Other former Cougars in the league who fans will likely have the opportunity to watch include Michael Davis of the Los Angeles Chargers and Sione Takitaki of the Cleveland Browns.

Although BYU doesn’t have any former basketball players currently on an active NBA roster, a number of former Cougar hoopsters play on international teams that are scheduled to play during the fall and winter. In the MLB, former BYU pitcher Taylor Cole should see some action on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels this fall, while several other former Cougars will continue to work their way up in the minor leagues.

Stay active

Participating in outdoor recreational activities could be another way for BYU students and fans to relieve stress and get some adrenaline pumping if college sports are canceled. Provo has a wide variety of natural terrain within close proximity, attracting outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. Popular outdoor fall activities in Utah County include hiking, biking, rock climbing, fishing, kayaking and camping.

One of the most popular hiking trails near the BYU campus is the 2-mile roundtrip hike to the “Y” directly east of campus. A few longer, well-traveled trails in the area include “Stewart Falls” (3.4 miles roundtrip), “Squaw Peak” (7.3 miles roundtrip) and “Mount Timpanogos” (15.7 miles roundtrip from Aspen Grove). Several other hiking trails in the area with varying degrees of length and difficulty can be found on AllTrails.

Mountain biking has become an increasingly popular outdoor activity in recent years given the increased number of ski resorts offering lift-served biking during summer and fall months. Sundance Mountain Resort, located 15 miles from BYU campus, offers over 25 miles of lift-served mountain biking trails. Deer Valley and Park City Resorts, both about 45 miles from Provo, also offer lift-served mountain biking. Hundreds of additional miles of mountain biking trails also exist within the foothills and mountains surrounding Provo and can also be found on AllTrails.

Rock Canyon, located directly east of the Provo Temple, is a prime location for outdoor rock climbing enthusiasts. Although technical knowledge of the sport is required for one to safely climb, the Quarry, located on 2494 North University Parkway in Provo, provides a number of climbing safety courses. The Quarry also has an indoor climbing gym with a number of routes with varying degrees of difficulty.

The Provo River, which runs from the Deer Creek Reservoir in Provo Canyon to Utah Lake, provides plenty of fishing opportunities. Utah Lake provides additional aquatic activities such as boating and kayaking. The mountains surrounding the BYU campus also hold countless camping opportunities. BYU Outdoors Unlimited, located on 2201 North Canyon Road in Provo, has a wide variety of outdoor gear available to rent for students who, depending on what ultimately happens with college sports, might be looking for new ways to fill their time come fall.

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