It can be collectively agreed that the first half of 2020 has catapulted society into a whirlwind of uncertainty and concern. Matched with major losses of public events, lost jobs, and dollops of hand sanitizer, a big sector that was affected quite heavily by the pandemic were the sports world.
We saw sports fans ripping their hair out after professional and amateur sports leagues shut down for months after multiple athletes tested positive for the virus. Now we are seeing the gradual return of sports being played in empty arenas under strictly enforced protocols.
Among the organizations affected is TRU’s very own Wolfpack.
During the summer, the Canadian West along with many other National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) conferences across America decided to cancel their Fall sports seasons due to the outbreak. Worries about player safety and travel were the biggest issues at hand.
“Although the Canadian sport system is working together to create an evidence-based return to training, practice and competition protocols, it is not currently feasible or safe due to the COVID-19 pandemic for U SPORTS to be able to offer fall championships given the academic realities of student-sport,” Dr. Taryn Taylor, U-Sports Chief Medical Officer announced.
Sports that are affected in terms of the Wolfpack include both men and women’s soccer teams. Both programs will still train daily and play friendly matches when they are able to; however, the regular season will be terminated.
As far as winter sports go, basketball and volleyball are yet to be confirmed or denied in terms of playing their upcoming seasons.
“For the fall, it became pretty clear that in order for the sports deemed higher-risk to continue, they would require pretty significant risk mitigation,” Curtis Atkinson, TRU athletic director stated.”It would essentially render the sports unrecognizable for our contact sports. We can’t keep two metres apart and we have to be able to travel.”
Being a player on the men’s team myself, the news was shocking. However, there are some positives to consider. First, the COVID-19 season will not count as a year of eligibility. This gives players an extra year to play sports while completing their studies.
TRU has agreed to uphold scholarships during the COVID-19 season. This is important for players who depend on an athletic scholarship to pay for their schooling. It also shows a lot of integrity and support from the university to its athletes.
We need to understand that these decisions are being made in all of our best interests. The university has been fantastic in upholding athletic scholarships during these pressing times and remain hopeful and positive that we will return to play as soon as possible.