The Sunshine State Conference announced its decision to postpone all scheduled sports competitions in the fall season on July 18. Florida Southern College sports are all part of the SSC, which means there will be no sports competitions this fall semester. Fall sports include men’s and women’s soccer and cross country and women’s volleyball.
Competitions scheduled in the fall for spring sports have also been postponed. These sports include baseball, softball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, tennis and golf, and women’s rowing. It was decided on Sept. 17 to postpone winter sports as well
The Sunshine State Conference Athletic Directors and Presidents Council have unanimously agreed to postpone all competition in the sports of basketball and swimming through Dec. 31, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic ,” says the official SSC website.
What does this mean for all the athletes and coaches here at FSC? The postponement forces the plan for sports this fall semester to change drastically.
“[R]eally the biggest effect this is going to have is we don’t have a fall championship for our fall student athletes to play for,” FSC Athletic Director Drew Howard said.
Although there will not be any fall championships, the athletes are still trying to get better for the spring. Most of the club sports hope to still be able to compete on their own schedules, such as e-sports, ice hockey, equestrian club, and waterski.
The athletes and coaches hope to take care of themselves mentally just as much as physically, as well as take part in the outside community and do their part regarding everything else that is currently happening in the world.
“We’re going to try and find ways to take care of [the athletes’] mental health to allow them to engage [in] the community in some different ways, ” Howard said “We’re taking election day off so that everyone can exercise their rights to vote.”
Athletic Director Howard wants to focus time and energy into making FSC’s student athletes better people as well as better athletes. This includes local and international athletes who, unfortunately, are not allowed back on campus this fall.
While they won’t be joining their teammates in person, coaches and athletes will be sending them workouts and offering weekend amenities on campus to encourage them to stay active, in shape and engaged with the rest of the team in some way. Coaches, athletes, and the athletic administration have prioritized making sure that none of the athletes at home feel excluded or disconnected from their teammates and the FSC community in general.
The pandemic has continued to force athletes and coaches to reevaluate their plans for this year. Though they will not be prevented from continuing to improve their skills off the field, new developments including student athletes testing positive for coronavirus has affected FSC’s sports teams ability to practice.
“Due to the potential exposure of several student-athletes from different athletic teams to COVID-19, Florida Southern College athletics will pause all team activities, effective immediately,” Howard said in a statement made on Instagram on Sept. 17. “The goal is to potentially stem any possible exposure and limit any illness.”
As for what this extended break from competing will do to student athletes’ careers professionally, the NCAA has been understanding of the circumstances surrounding this season and will not hold any of the athletes accountable for not being able to compete.
“We won’t have student athletes that are losing eligibility by either taking a semester off or not coming back to campus. [The NCAA is] putting out waivers for the compliance and eligibility rules that will allow them to continue to compete,” Howard said.