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Arizona softball’s annual trip to Mary Nutter Classic cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns

SB Nation logo SB Nation 12/1/2020 Ryan Kelapire
a baseball player swinging a bat at a ball © Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The annual Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, the tournament’s website announced Tuesday.

Originally set to take place Feb. 25-28, 2021, the MNCC is the most iconic early-season tournament in college softball, partly because of the Big League Dreams Cathedral City complex, whose fields are designed after iconic MLB venues like Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium.

Arizona softball was scheduled to participate for the 12th straight year.

The other teams set to be in the field were: Bethune-Cookman, BYU, Cal, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Missouri, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oregon State, San Diego State, Seattle U, Texas A&M, UCLA, UC Riverside, San Diego and Washington.

“2020 has been a challenging time for everyone and sports are not immune to those issues. Running an event the size and scope of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic is a large logistic undertaking in a normal year without adding the impact of COVID-19 and safety protocols for participants,” the tournament’s site says.

“While making plans for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, we always want to make sure that the health and well being of our participating student-athletes, coaches, umpires, and staff is our number one concern. It also has become apparent that the pandemic still leaves too many unanswered questions about the upcoming season in regards to safely hosting events with fans. So regretfully we are going to cancel the 2021 MNCC to allow our teams to find other opportunities to play games. We are already making plans for the 2022 softball season and expect to welcome teams and fans back to Big League Dreams Cathedral City for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic scheduled for the weekend of February 24-27, 2022.”

Arizona coach Mike Candrea said a couple of weeks ago that the Wildcats’ 2021 schedule was set but that he was worried about the viability of early-season tournaments like the Mary Nutter.

The Wildcats are also scheduled to play in an early-season tournament in Irvine against Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Cal State Northridge and LMU.


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