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NCAA: Student-athletes’ seasons cut short

In compliance with the NCAA, all spring championships are canceled due to nationwide health precautions. Winter athletic teams were forced to leave their competitions.

(Alexandra Wilder | The Poly Post)

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) becoming a global pandemic, Cal Poly Pomona and the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) released a joint statement suspending all intercollegiate athletic activities indefinitely. 

This includes all three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Winter Championship teams and the lone participants from CPP men and women’s basketball, as well as track and field.

CPP sent out a campuswide email informing faculty and students that from March 18 through March 27, classes will transition to a virtual format until further instruction. 

This email would also affect athletics, canceling practices and games, along with recruiting.

It is hitting all the student-athletes hard that they will not get to compete in their seasons they have been waiting all year long for. 

It is especially tough for the seniors who will never know what they could have accomplished.

Both the men and women’s basketball teams were preparing for the first round of the West Region Tournament. 

The women jetted off to Hawaii to face No. 3 Hawaii Pacific in the quarterfinals, while the men headed down to San Diego to play No. 24 Point Loma. 

The teams were set to play on March 13, but on March 11, the National Basketball Association dropped a bomb.

Rudy Gobert, a center on the Utah Jazz, tested positive for coronavirus, prompting the league commissioner, Adam Silver, to suspend the season until further notice. 

It was up in the air what would happen to collegiate basketball after that, but players and coaches had a bad feeling.

On March 12, the tournaments were suspended and both teams went back home. Division I and II conference tournaments and national tournaments were canceled nationwide. 

The NCAA issued a statement informing the public that it would be canceling all remaining winter and spring sports.

Women’s basketball senior forward Kasey Smit is most sad about the unknown.

“It really sucks not being able to play and not being able to know if we could have beaten a team,” Smit said. “I wanted to end on better terms by competing to our fullest in Hawaii.”

An empty Kellogg Arena, closed indefinitely due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. (Elizabeth Hernandez | The Poly Post)

The men’s basketball team was looking for redemption after losing a close one in the CCAA tournament championship. Senior guard Nikhil Peters believes the team was just starting to reach its peak.

“With the virus shutting things down, it just hurts right in the heart knowing that the year is over and we have no control,” Peters said. “Especially being a senior, it just makes me sad. But at the end of the day, I appreciate CPP and my coaching staff and everything they’ve done for me.”

The baseball team got the news in the middle of its season. With a winning record in the first half of conference, the team  will never be able to know what could have been.

“Last weekend in San Francisco might have been our last games ever,” senior infielder Brennan McKenzie said. “I hope there is some kind of way to get around this that allows seniors to get the rest of their season back.”

Men and women’s track and field were the final teams affected. The teams only had a handful of events they had competed in, and were just getting into the swing of things when the news came out that their season would be canceled. 

Senior jumper Ben Anderson recalls it as the worst news that flipped his life upside down.

“The worst part is that I don’t even get to live my last track meet. I don’t get to hug my family and team after,” Anderson said. “The closest thing I had to a goodbye to what has been my life for the last seven years was me … crying on the track … wondering what I would have accomplished in my final season I never got.”

Taking a step in the right direction, the governing body of the NCAA is granting an extra year to spring sports. 

The NCAA will work with institutions on scholarships, roster sizes and other rules that may be unclear. 

This decision gives student-athletes, coaches and fans the chance to relive what could have been another incredible season.

The news is shocking and may seem unfair, but the safety of the fans, officials, coaches and student-athletes is most important. 

The athletes are grieving now, but they know the coronavirus could be a danger to all through sports.

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