Senior athletes debate return for additional year

Courtesy of California Baptist University Athletics

After nearly four years of dedication to their sport, college seniors in spring athletics across the United States are coming to terms with the cancellation of their final seasons because of the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Fortunately for spring athletes, they will be able to decide whether or not to return to their respective colleges for another year. The National College Athletic Association said in a press release March 13 that seniors in spring sports are offered another year of eligibility.

“Council leadership agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes who participated in spring sports. Details of eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time,” said the Division I Council Coordination Committee in the release.

Many students are waiting on the details before making a decision to return to school for another year, as some students may not be able to afford another year of college or may want to start their careers right away.

Deanna Alarcon, senior marketing major, was just starting her last season playing California Baptist University softball before the season was suspended. The soon-to-be alumna is considering returning for another year to finish her softball career how she always imagined she would.

“I would definitely consider it after hearing the details of it,” Alarcon said. “It’s just going to come down to how schooling would work and if I possibly went to grad school. Being able to play another year would be incredible, but there’s also this side of me who wants to start my career and to go find my passion for the rest of my life, so I know it won’t be an easy choice.”

Similarly, Nicolas Plaia, senior kinesiology major, was beginning his last season playing CBU baseball. He said he had a goal of winning another Western Athletic Conference title.

“At first I was surrounded with shock, frustration and anger. Just to have something that you care about and love so much taken away from you in a heartbeat was devastating,” Plaia said. “I won’t lie — I was very emotional hearing the news, as I realized it was my last time playing for the school and being on the field with my teammates. Everyone in the program is like a family member to me, so it was heartbreaking to have it all end so fast. But I do know that it is for the greater good in resolving this pandemic, which has affected so many in our country and world.”

Plaia said he would love nothing more than to finish out his senior season playing baseball for the Lancers. However, the finances that come with an additional year of schooling, he said, would hold him back. He said he hopes to try and sign with a professional team during the off-season.

For those who opt not to use the extra year of eligibility, CBU Athletics lost some senior talent too soon this semester because of the COVID-19 sports cancellation, though the safety of its student-athletes is the top priority.

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