By Tucker Cergol and Wilson Wong
When SUNY Brockport lacrosse player Emma Nevers, watched as the clock ticked to zero during the teams victory against Clarkson University on March 11, she was excited for the win. Little did the junior attacker imagine, she was playing her last game of the season.
Nevers, along with hundreds of other collegiate athletes saw their spring seasons come to an abrupt end when the NCAA was forced to cancel all sports because of the coronavirus pandemic. Even though the seasons for these teams only started a few weeks prior, this was something that had to be done. This was heartbreaking for the entire team, but Nevers knew this would impact the seniors the most.
“Everyone, especially our seniors, were really upset. You put all this work in during preseason to get to where we were just to have the season taken away, it was devastating,” Nevers said.
The NCAA was the last major sports organization to cancel or suspend all of their collegiate seasons around the country. After officially cancelling, they needed to figure out what they could do to allow seniors who were a part of a team in the spring to play their last season if they chose to. Due to this, they decided to grant an extra year of eligibility for student-athletes who play spring sports, and had their season cancelled.
There are some things that will make it harder for these seniors to return for another year. Susan Hoffman, the Associate Director of Athletics at Brockport, knows this will be difficult for a lot of teams at the Division III level.
“The challenge is if coaches have secured their incoming class of freshmen, where do the seniors fit in the overall picture. Impact players may be welcomed more openly than seniors that do not see much playing time,” Hoffman said.
This may cause many seniors to move on from the sport they have played throughout their collegiate career. Athletes around the country are having a difficult time making a decision on whether they should use the extra season that has been granted. Senior Kyle Canavally is a pitcher on the Brockport men’s baseball team. He will take advantage of the extra season of eligibility.
“I still have another year left academically to complete my degree, so it was a no brainer to use this extra year that was given. As for other seniors, I think it will come down to where the student is academically and whether they can pursue graduate programs,” Canavally said.
Now the focus has shifted to fall sports. Student-athletes are looking forward to being able to return to their sports next year, but there is a possibility that fall sports could be cancelled as well. While quarantine and social distancing are still taking place and being encouraged, there is no certainty of how long it will last. Fall sports are expecting to start their preseasons over the summer but depending on the pandemic it might need to be postponed.
The NCAA, along with teams, coaches and players, have time to prepare and look at all possible options. Matheus Oliviera, a junior on the men’s soccer team, is still optimistic that fall sports will begin on time.
“The possibility of fall sports being effected by this has impacted the team and I only in a small way because we know that all of our competition is in the same boat as us. It all comes down to who’s putting in the work now on their own time,” Oliviera said.
As fall gets closer, the hope is that more answers about the virus will be revealed. With spring sports already coming to an end, many people are hoping fall sports will happen on time. Nobody knows what will happen yet, but the hope in Brockport is that soon everyone can return to some type of normalcy and go back to their everyday lives.