COVID-19 causes multiple college seasons to be temporarily or completely canceled
With the steady rise of COVID-19 cases across the U.S., there has been a question of whether or not it is safe to let college sports continue, affecting athletes and many of their upcoming seasons. While every school has a different way of handling their sports season, one thing remains the same: this season will be different.
The Atlantic Coast College sports conference medical group said that college sports seasons can be played safely as long as extra precautions are taken. Dr. Cameron Wolf, a member of the ACC medical group, said that doctors now know enough about Covid-19 to let fall sports continue with heavy restrictions.
In an interview with Sports Business Daily, Wolfe said that he believes they can mitigate it down to a level that makes everyone safe.
“Can we safely have two teams meet on the field? I would say yes. Will it be tough? Yes. Will it be expensive and difficult and a lot of work? For sure. But do I believe you can sufficiently mitigate the risk of bringing COVID-19 onto the football field or into the training room at a level no greater than living as a student on campus,” Wolfe said.
As a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, colleges are taking extra precautions to ensure a safe season. Lacrosse player Scott Bower ‘19 started his second year at the University of Virginia this fall. This year’s lacrosse season looks a lot different for Bower, as restrictions on practices have been increased heavily.
“As of now, COVID-19 has affected our season a lot,” Bower said. “We can only practice in four different groups, not as a full team, which is very unfortunate. Also since our season got canceled mid season, the [National Collegiate Athletic Association] granted everybody an extra year of eligibility. That means some teams might have an advantage over other teams if their players decide to take the fifth year and keep around very talented guys. It feels very weird having to adjust with the new rules regarding COVID-19.”
Colleges are trying to keep their athletes safe while allowing the university to have a sports season. Caitlyn Henderson ‘19 is in her second year playing volleyball for Cameron University and has experienced many restrictions this season.
“As of now, when we are practicing, we have to wear masks and social distance from each other as best as possible,” Henderson said. “It hasn’t been decided yet whether or not we’re playing scrimmages, but practices look completely different from how they would typically run.”
Some schools have temporarily canceled their fall sports season because of the rise in COVID-19 cases on campus. Rower Alexander Konradi ‘20 who is in his first crew season at Hobart and William Smith Colleges has had his season temporarily canceled. Extra restrictions, along with the cancellation of practices, have been placed on Konradi’s season such as: workouts being temporarily suspended, limited rowing teams and singles boats rather than standard boats. With this being Konradi’s first crew season at Hobart, he has found it difficult to enjoy the season the same way as he would before COVID-19.
“Because four of our football players tested positive for COVID-19, practices for all sports are temporarily suspended,” Konradi said. “It’s difficult having to miss out on what feels like a large part of my season. This is my first season rowing at a college level so I often feel like I’m missing out on a better season I could’ve had. Having my season be temporarily suspended has been really hard, and I just wish we could have a regular season.”
Many college athletes are finding it hard to enjoy their season amidst the pandemic and feel as though they are missing out on a season they could have had. However, even with the increase of restrictions student athletes have learned to appreciate their season more.
“Tons of restrictions have been placed on our season, but I think in the end we’ve all learned to value our season more and enjoy the sport for what it is,” Bower said.