Following the NCAA’s announcement of the Spring Championship cancellations, conferences had no pressure to maintain regular season schedules. The SEC ended all athletic and recruiting activities. Vanderbilt clarified their university’s position, and all sports are suspended until March 30.
That effectively ends the season and/or career for most Spring Sport athletes. It is a sudden and difficult end for most, if not all athletes. It feels unfair—in the same way most unexpected life events feel.
It also leaves the door open for reassessment after the March 30 deadline. It is the appropriate measure to ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t spread rapidly beyond the capabilities of medical infrastructure. But the hope is that in two to three weeks time, reassessment of the situation may renew athletic activities.
Until then, what are coaches and athletes doing?
I reached out to people in the department to see what their plans are. Turns out they are going to “spend some time on themselves.” It seems as if college athletics is demanding, and with no classes and no competition, there are a myriad of things that people put on hold while they are in season.
Things I heard: move into a new house, buy a house, job interviews, weddings, engagements, etc.
This will sound existential, but Jeff Goldbloom’s character in Jurassic Park said, “life finds a way.” His quote was more ominous. In this instance, COVID-19 has created a scenario where people need to keep distance until the CDC and medical professionals can treat at-risk populations.
That means holding off on the historic institutional activities that we base our lives on and around. Yet, humans still need to human, and that means working and playing in different ways. In a silver lining way, I am thankful that these coaches and athletes can have time they don’t normally get. I would prefer it not be because of a global pandemic.
Until normalcy returns, those in the department will have a lot of time on their hands. Hopefully they can spend it in healthy and productive ways. I’m reminded of what Kirby Puckett said about the ‘94 baseball strike: “this is the first time in my kids’ lives I can spend the summer with them.”