By Adam Goolsby and Maci Weeks
On March 11, students at Trevecca were told their spring break would be extended because of the Coronavirus. During this time, students were told that outdoor athletics would continue as planned for the time being.
Just six days later, each student at Trevecca was asked to pack up and head home for the summer, athletes included.
During March, all spring sports seasons were canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With previous spring seasons ending in May of 2019 last year, spring athletes at Trevecca had been preparing for this season for eight full months. Now, because of canceled seasons, athletes will be in offseason for nearly a full year before they play another game.
The NCAA passed legislation that will grant extra eligibility to players whose seasons ended because of the coronavirus. This means that all athletes who are on a team this year, from freshman to seniors, will technically have five total years of eligibility.
Ben Tyree’s softball team, who was nationally ranked, was in Florida for a week-long tournament when they were told their season was cancelled.
“There is a lot of things that we are not in control of,” said Tyree. “[Our team] just came together and had a real quiet moment talking about ‘We had a real good season and we had a lot in front of us.’”
Some women’s seniors are considering returning again next year as allowed by the NCAA’s legislation for extra eligibility.
“With the season ending the way it did, I didn’t get any signs of closure,” said MaKray Odom, senior softball player.
Odom and another senior for the softball team have not made their decision on whether to come back for another season.
Odom can choose between returning to play or helping Tyree coach and becoming a GA for the softball team.
“If I go back and coach and choose not to play, sit in the dugout… watching [the girls] play through a game and during practice, am I going to be able to sit there and watch that, knowing that I could’ve played?” said Odom.
David Head’s women’s golf team also had their season canceled midway through.
“We were certainly disappointed that we didn’t get the opportunity to compete for a G-MAC Championship… sometimes life deals you some things that are out of your control, and these are one of those times,” he said.
All three seniors for the women’s golf team have decided to not return for their senior season.
The volleyball team was set up to have spring scrimmages against other universities but were all cancelled due to the pandemic.
“We didn’t get that opportunity, but neither did the rest of the country,” said Emily Moore, head coach of volleyball at Trevecca.
It has also affected the women’s soccer team and their spring schedule.
“It’s caused a need to try to figure out new ways to communicate and to keep the team as together as possible,” said Kelsey Fenix, Trevecca women’s soccer coach.
Coach Hibdon, women’s basketball head coach, said the pandemic has affected their individual development period in the spring to help continue the players’ growth for the fall.
“I was very disappointed that the season ended so abruptly. We were in the middle of our season and we were ready to compete. We all hate that the season ended the way it did, but it was certainly out of our control. The team members are also very disappointed and for those seniors that didn’t get to finish their career, it was terribly disappointing,” said David Head, Trevecca golf coach.
While the NCAA’s legislation for players to return again next year may seem like a great solution, Athletic Director Mark Elliot pointed out some factors that add complication.
“Currently, nine of 10 senior baseball players would like to come back for another senior year. Coach Schmalz was not planning on having these guys back and was recruiting high school seniors to replace them next season,” said Elliot. “The 2020-21 athletic aid earmarked for the HS seniors comes from TNU 2019-20 seniors moving on after graduation. While he’d love to get these seniors back, the coach does not have the scholarship money to give to fifth-year seniors and first-year freshmen. In essence, he has scholarship money for four classes, but now he must decide how to fund five classes with the same amount.”
Sole golf senior, Ryan Rozic, has also said he will be back.
“At Trevecca, I have made some of my best friends through our athletic department. Most of my best friends are teammates or other athletes who play sports at TNU. If I get the opportunity to play another year, I am 100 percent coming back,” said Rozic. “This would be a great opportunity to continue playing the game I love. Also, I am excited to continue growing the relationships I have with my friends.”