COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, has taken the entire world by storm.
What started in Wuhan, China has slowly made its way internationally, with countries like Italy and the United States issuing nationally-recognized states of emergency, widespread quarantine and, in Italy, extensive available testing.
(The United States decided to limit each individual state to just 1,000 tests, which are to be given at a doctor’s discretion, but I won’t even get started on the atrocity that is the United States’ healthcare system.)
Everyone has heard enough about the virus, so I will not continue to give background (but knowledge and hygiene are power in this situation, folks!) so let us dive into how this affects our athletic department and athletes.
At the time of publication, all athletic activities, including the entirety of the spring sports season, have been canceled.
The statement from the River States Conference (RSC) stated the following: “For the health and safety of RSC student-athletes, coaches, support staff and the general public, the RSC Commissioner and Council of Presidents feel this is the best course of action at this time.”
Also, literally while I was writing this column, Point Park’s student leaders got an email that all events and meetings, both on-and-off campus, have been canceled for the remainder of the semester.
With this decision comes the ceasing of all team-related activities, which include games, practices, team meetings and strength and conditioning sessions.
Some teams on campus held unofficial practices with limited athletes, but others have simply put in work at home or complete at-home workouts in the meantime.
Not all sports are directly impacted by the cancelation obviously, but those that are immediately impacted include the competitive dance team, baseball and softball.
The dance team was set to compete in Nationals this past weekend in Iowa, but turned around after driving over halfway there to come home once the news hit that the entire competition was canceled.
Baseball got through one game at Chatham and were playing as the announcement of the initial suspension went out, but the remainder of their season will be canceled.
As for softball, the athletes did not even get to play one game since returning home from Florida before their season prematurely ended.
Looking ahead, outdoor track and field, golf and men’s and women’s cross country will no longer get to begin competition for their seasons.
As a senior myself, I can imagine how heartbroken these athletes are. The NCAA is awarding a year of eligibility back to spring athletes, and I would imagine the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) will follow suit, but to lose an entire season due to a situation so out of our control is gut-wrenching.
The quickest way to get back to our regularly scheduled NAIA programming is to self-quarantine. So stay home and wash your hands.