By: Josh Wolmer- 1851 Staff
On March 11, the sports world was rocked as NBA star Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus. As a result, sports league presidents and commissioners had no choice but to suspend all play of their season until after this pandemic ends.
At first, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) gave Division I members the option to continue gameplay, but eventually, the conferences chose to close down their tournaments. As the virus continued to expand, the NCAA was forced to suspend any winter or spring sports indefinitely.
For the NCAA, this was a big and groundbreaking action to have taken. According to Ben Pickman of Sports Illustrated, this was the first time ever that the NCAA has canceled March Madness since its inaugural tournament back in 1939. This was the right call. The health of athletes is more important than anything else.
For seniors in sports at the time, this would end their collegiate career on terms they didn’t want, but couldn’t control. Seniors wanted answers from the NCAA as to possibly getting one year of eligibility back. A large group of athletes also used this year to work out and solidify their skills for professional leagues with certain performers needing it more than others.
Days later, the NCAA made a ruling they are going to look at the spring season as if it never happened. No athlete is going to be charged for a full season. For Division III athletes, this means they are able to play another full season.
This only applies to spring sport athletes. All winter sports athletes, although many did not have a chance to finish their seasons, will not be granted an extra year of eligibility. This would mean all players on Lasell’s baseball team, men and women’s lacrosse teams, softball team, men’s volleyball team, and the men and women’s track and field teams would all be able to come back and play for another season. For winter sport athletes, this was the right move. They were able to play out most of their full seasons. Their playoffs and tourneys were only cut short, which is not the worst thing. Spring sport athletes were only able to play a few games.
Next year’s spring season can be very interesting. Many star players can stay on teams while high school phenoms are stepping onto the scene. Look out for some amazing games.
Check out Wolmer’s podcast on Lasell’s cancelled sports due to COVID-19 here