A handful of student athletes from SUNY Brockport have learned how seriously the college is following and enforcing COVID-19 regulations. Within the past month, both the Wrestling and Men’s Soccer teams have been suspended due to violations of Coronavirus protocols. The suspensions likely send a message to the rest of Brockport Athletics: Your season is on the line.
While it has not been made completely clear what and how certain regulations were being broken, college administrators have made comments claiming students and coaches had not been following protocols, such as wearing masks and social distancing. The first violation came from the wrestling team, announced on September 12 that their season had been suspended. According to the school, one of its student athletes had confirmed contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19, which resulted in more than 50 individuals needing to quarantine, after the findings of certain protocols not being followed. Since then, a negative test has enabled all the individuals to be released from quarantine. However, the activities of the wrestling team, and a few physical education classes have still been put on hold. No one involved with the Wrestling program could be reached at this time.
However, Brockport President, Heidi Macpherson, came out with a statement showing how serious and strict the college plans on taking violations.
“Unfortunately, we have learned that the wrestling program may have jeopardized the health and safety of our community, and this must be addressed,” Macpherson stated. “We are relieved that no one has become ill as a result of these alleged infractions, but risky behavior cannot go unchallenged.”
Macpherson makes it clear that the college will not tolerate ant COVID-19 violations, and that the safety and health of the student body is a top priority.
Soon after these suspensions, the following weekend, SUNY Brockport had to show that they are continuing to be very strict regarding COVID-19 precautions. After learning of a group gathering of more than 50 people, many tied to the men’s soccer program, administrators announced its suspension of the team and all activities.
According to officials, the group had not been social distancing or wearing masks, and directly violated precautions that had been put into place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. President Macpherson came out with another statement.
“While the vast majority of our students are following the proper COVID-19 precautions, we cannot allow the health and safety of our community to be jeopardized by the inappropriate and potentially dangerous actions of a few individuals.”
On top of the program being suspended, six individual students were also suspended, likely the ones hosting the gathering.
These suspensions serve as a warning to the other athletic programs and the rest of the student body as well. Other athletic programs, like Men’s and Woman’s Lacrosse, and Baseball, are still practicing given new and more strict circumstances. Face coverings are required by the athletes and coaches, and the number of participants have been made limited. The teams that have been following these protocols have not seen any problems thus far.
Men’s Lacrosse head coach, Ben Wineburg, says he is trying his best to follow mandates to ensure his team can continue to practice. He encourages his players to social distance, and make sacrifices now in order to play in the Spring.
“We have been living through this pandemic for nearly a year now, and New York was an obvious hot spot in this country,” Wineburg said. “Rules and regulations are set forth and we as individuals…should follow these mandates to protect our health and each other.”
This is just as important for students as it is student athletes, which is why it is so important to stay protected, since these individuals may be more at risk as they are interacting with teammates, trainers and coaches.
Within the SUNY system, Brockport is doing a great job at containing any possible outbreaks and keeping the number of cases down regarding COVID-19. If you look at other SUNY schools, some have already transitioned to completely online classes, following a rapid increase in cases once students returned to campus. For example, SUNY Oneonta had more than 500 confirmed cases less than two weeks after the beginning of their Fall semester. Plus, many other institutions have also already suspended athletic programs, like SUNY Oswego. The college has already halted all athletics and Greek life due to a spike in confirmed cases.
Dr. Robber Schneider, a Sport Management professor at Brockport, agrees that Brockport has been successful in keeping the number of cases down.
According to Schneider, the college is “Doing a really good job following protocols required of them from the State of New York,” not only from an athletics standpoint, but also campus wide. The Brockport president was also praised.
“Under the leadership of President Macpherson, Brockport has proven that an organization can stay open and prevent the spread of COVID,” Schneider stated.
The above statement can be backed up, as both Wineburg and Schneider invite you to look at the stats, which shows only a total of six confirmed student cases, and zero faculty, with only one being on the campus of Brockport. Currently, there are no confirmed cases. These numbers may have changed since publication.
Brockport is trying its best at preventing a surge in cases. This makes it hard to question their actions, As the precautions the school has made, and the disciplinary actions to enforce these protocols have looked successful so far, and the college plans to keep it that way.