The Toro baseball squad is among the sports teams hopeful for spring action. Photo by Nova Blanco-Rico.
By Jonathon Ghattas, Staff Reporter
For CSUDH student-athletes, the start of the fall semester is one that many of them will never forget–even though they’d like nothing more.
In early May, the California Collegiate Athletic Association, announced all fall seasons would be postponed until further notice. While the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to loom over athletic departments, a plan to get back onto the field in the spring semester is one that is constantly being ironed out behind closed doors.
CCAA athletic directors are meeting weekly, and CSUDH athletic director Jeff Falkner believes the proper steps are being put in with the hopes of playing all sports in the spring.
“We’re trying to provide as many options as possible so the [campus] president can choose what is best for each institution,” Falkner said.
Falkner added that even if certain schools can play, some may face local restrictions.
“Since we’re all spread out across the state, there is no guarantee that because one campus is able to play that another would be as well,” he said.
But the main focus right now is supporting student-athletes.
“Right now we’re trying to support our students as best we can in this virtual environment, and making sure they have a strong athletic department for them to come back to,” Falkner said.
Currently, all team meetings are being held virtually, as practices and team workouts continue to be canceled for all athletics. CSUDH will continue to follow all safety and rule protocols established by the state, with set measures in place if a return to the field happens. These measures will consist of COVID-19 testing for both players and coaching staff, along with wearing masks and maintaining social distancing when possible.
Falkner also foresees limited use of certain accommodations that teams would otherwise be provided.
“We would have much less travel and overnight stays, no locker rooms, no restaurants. It would be a very different experience,” he said.
While much of scheduling and other details remain contingent on the progress made against the coronavirus in the coming months, all postponed fall sports will be given a chance to compete in the spring. Though these seasons will not end up in the culmination of a fall championship, the CCAA is hopeful it can provide the student-athletes with an opportunity to play in the spring.
As student-athletes continue to face the uncertainty of what is to come in the upcoming months, a few steps have been taken by the NCAA to help relieve some of these difficulties. All student-athletes have been granted an extra year of eligibility. Additional financial aid will also be available for student-athletes who chose to extend their eligibility, but this rule will only apply to those who have exhausted their financial aid and were enrolled in school for the 2019-2020 year.