Cullen’s Column: COVID-19 ends athletics early

It is not an easy time to be a sports fan. It is not an easy time to be an athlete. It just is not an easy time to be involved in sports, clinging to the idea of the day that sports will signal the triumphant return of normalcy.

When California Baptist University’s men’s basketball team had its senior night Feb. 29, emotions ran high. If the team knew what would transpire in the weeks following that game, emotions would have run higher still.

On March 12 – five days after the Lancers played their final regular-season game – the Western Athletic Conference announced the suspension of conference competition until further notice. CBU responded with a suspension of all competition, regardless of conference affiliation. Later that day, the NCAA announced the cancellation of all winter and spring championships.

CBU basketball had just capped off a 21-win season and were on track to host a postseason game on March 17. The men’s basketball team got a chance to ceremoniously say goodbye, but spring athletes were not quite as lucky.

CBU baseball was just 15 games into its season when the sports world came to a screeching halt. When the Lancers faced the University of San Diego on March 11, they had no idea it would be their last competition for a while.

The news that has unfolded over the last couple of weeks stings for the senior athletes who have devoted so much to making their final season the best one yet.

On March 13, the NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee released a statement that said, “eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student athletes who participated in spring sports.” This opens the door for a possible return for senior athletes who had their seasons disrupted by COVID-19.

However, many senior athletes will not be able to logistically return for another year, and the eligibility relief does not give back winter sports participants their chance to compete for a championship.

These necessary, albeit difficult, steps ended many collegiate careers on a sour note. Lancer winter sports athletes who saw their postseason hopes involuntarily disappear and spring sports athletes who are unsure what the future holds should be remembered for all they accomplished in their time at CBU – not for the fact that they never got the chance to accomplish more.

About Cullen Holt

Asst. Sports Editor

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