Photo Courtesy of Toro Athletics
By Jessica Olvera, Co-Sports Editor, and Jackson Cascio, Assistant Sports Editor
Imagine living in a world or going to a school without sports? Well, that’s the scary reality for professional and collegiate athletes as the rest of the spring and winter season has been suspended due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) announced in a statement on March 11, that all athletic events have been suspended for the rest of the academic year.
According to a campus-wide email sent by President Thomas Parham the following day, the remainder of the CSUDH softball, baseball, track and field, and golf seasons will be suspended, including recruiting visits for the rest of the semester.
Now, what does this mean for the student-athletes in regards to eligibility and facing the possible reality that they might have put on their uniform for the last time?
In a statement from the NCAA on March 13, student-athletes who participated in spring sports will be granted eligibility relief, with additional details and issues addressed at a later date.
But this sudden shock of the season being suspended has evoked panic and all too real emotions to be felt for athletes, especially seniors.
“It honestly hasn’t sunk in yet and I’m still in shock,” said Jade Loe, a senior utility player for the CSUDH softball team. “My heart goes out to all of the seniors in any sport who didn’t think that the last game they played would be their last. I think we all definitely deserve to get another year of eligibility back. All we can do is hope that it will work out eventually for the best.”
Loe said that the possibility of ending her athletic career suddenly in her final year brings on a more emotional feeling because during her first three seasons at CSUDH, the team had a combined record of 50-101, and made a huge turnaround this season, with a current record of 16-8. The team also reached national status for the first time since 2013, ranking 23rd in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II Polls on March 4.
With the NCAA also cancelling this years much-anticipated Division 1 men’s basketball tournament, it comes to no surprise that the NCAA and CCAA have cancelled all spring sports. The biggest question that remains is what do sports do now with recruiting halted and seasons ending months earlier?
There are lots of logistical aspects that need to be weighed, will seniors who were on track to graduate come back for another year? If current spring players are granted another year of eligibility, what does that do to recruiting for next season?
“It was absolutely horrible news,” said Pierson Loska, a senior utility player for the CSUDH baseball team. “No athlete ever wants to be told that their season is over and to look back at all the hard work that our team has put in since September is really a tough pill to swallow.”
Many spring athletes are going to have to adjust more so than regular students. Only being able to play about half of your senior season could affect anybody. Imagine working on your craft for years to get to this moment in your career, doing all the right things, playing well, then something completely out of your control takes it away.
The NCAA has some big decisions to make to decide on what their next steps will be going forward that will keep the student-athletes’ best interest at heart.