By: Sean McNerney
On a normal spring day, SUNY Brockport student and President of the men’s club baseball team, Skyler Cain goes to class, gets his homework done and heads to baseball practice. Though this season has been anything but normal for Cain. Without playing in a single game or even having any team practices, Cain continues to work hard for the team in hope for next year.
“Baseball has been one of my favorite sports for as long as I can remember, so not playing this semester has definitely been a bummer,” said Cain. “In order for us to have a season next year my team and I have been working hard to accumulate funding from the school and recruit players for next semester.”
The club baseball team was not able to have a season this year due to the COVID-19 restrictions put on the college from campus recreation. At the start of the semester the club baseball team was told that they were not allowed to use balls or any kind of team shared equipment. This regulation caused the team to forfeit their season and work ahead for next season instead.
“Since there was no season, I had to figure out a way to keep the team connected in some way,” said Cain. “I created a fantasy baseball league for the players to join, which at least gave us something to do as a team. We also went to tons of volunteering opportunities, many of which allow us to get more funding from campus recreation.”
Without the required funding from the school, club teams are required to pay out of their own pocket for equipment or be forced to forfeit their season.
Another SUNY Brockport student, Brandon DiRago is on the club baseball team and is the former club President. DiRago is a senior and was very disappointed in how his last season turned out.
“After playing baseball all my life I never really thought it would have ended like this,” said DiRago. “I was really hoping to play my last season at Brockport, what makes it even worse is that the school teams were able to play without the restrictions put on club teams.”
While the club baseball team has had a very forgettable season the D3 SUNY Brockport team has been playing games and practicing all season long. Though the D3 baseball team is playing in season there are still many restrictions they must follow. The Associate Director of Athletics Susan Hoffman is aware of these guidelines and restrictions.
“There are significant restrictions on all spring sports, from maintaining social distance during away travel to individually wrapped foods for post game meals. Most of these restrictions are based on the NCAA resocialization practices along with State mandates,” said Hoffman. “There are no post game handshakes, limited warm-up times for games, testing 48 hours prior to game time, and players must get temperature checks before practicing. These are just a few of the endless restrictions.”
This long list of restrictions does more than affect what the players can do and for how long. These restrictions can also have an effect on athletes’ mental health.
“The biggest challenge facing college athletes right now is their mental health,” said Hoffman. “Without an outlet to compete we are seeing a significant number of mental health issues from anxiety to disordered eating to depression.”
The mental health problems that many college athletes are facing doesn’t just affect their output on the field. It can also have a major impact on how they are doing academically and socially.
Even with all of the challenges presented to college athletes during this semester they are still figuring out ways to move forward. Athletes on the D3 SUNY Brockport team are hoping for a much more normal season with less restrictions. Meanwhile the club baseball team will continue to work towards their next season in hope to compete again.