Last Thursday, March 12, the MIAA took a stand on the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. The MIAA suspended all further intercollegiate sports activities – both practices and competitions/games.
This follows the National Basketball Association, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League – all leagues mentioned have suspended activities.
Even the summer 2020 Olympics could potentially be postponed or canceled.
The organizers of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the biggest global sporting event of the year say the decision may come as late as the end of May.
How does this effect Washburn sports?
There will be no games and no practice, which will equate to a loss of revenue for the university.
This is coupled with the increased costs of keeping the campus as germ free as possible. The cancellations affect student athletes.
According to a statement put out Friday, March 13, by the NCAA, the parent organization to the MIAA, “The Division II Administrative Committee implemented a recruiting dead period in all sports at least until April 15. The committee provided flexibility for schools to assist student athletes with travel, in addition to the already permitted housing and meals. The committee granted an additional season of eligibility to athletes in spring sports, and waived sports sponsorship requirements for schools canceling spring seasons.”
A big takeaway is the granting of an additional season of eligibility for student athletes and the waived sponsorship requirements.
According to the NCAA, athletes at a Division II or III school are eligible for the first 10 semesters or 15 quarters enrolled as a full-time student to complete four seasons of competition.
Now the students are given another season or more to put toward their time to play all four seasons.
“All students, regarding eligibility will not lose a year of competition for the spring season – so if, for example, they are a junior this year, 2020, they will still be a junior in the spring of 2021,” said Gene Cassell.
The question on many minds is whether that extra season is worth it.
Most college and university athletic programs are underwater financially, and they may lack the means to extend scholarships.
“If a student athlete has a scholarship from Washburn, they will still receive their scholarship this spring as originally scheduled,” said Cassell.
There are also concerns about the extra cost involved with the extra season.
“Ultimately it will be [up to] the schools, but how the NCAA will change equivalencies for next year is yet to be determined,” said Cassell.
Washburn student athletes had their own thoughts about the impact of COVID-19.
“What are we going to do? We said that we've never seen anything like this in our lives. So, it's definitely something that we're not used to,” said senior left-handed pitcher Jacob Head.
The situation with the coronavirus is constantly shifting around and new information comes out every day.
For example, Monday, March 16, U.S. health officials confirmed that the first human trials testing a potential vaccine to prevent the coronavirus, COVID-19, had begun in the United States.
Edited by Adam White, Abbie Barth, Wesley Tabor