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Student-athletes share opinions on NCAA’s decision to cancel championships amid pandemic

Quotes compiled by staff writer Christian Moya. Photos courtesy of CPP Athletic Department.

On Thursday afternoon, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) released a statement on its decision to cancel all remaining winter and spring championships as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. At Cal Poly Pomona, this cancellation affects the women and men’s basketball championships, and the track and field and baseball seasons.

After this decision was made, players, coaches and fans all over wondered how this decision would affect current players’ eligibility. Are seniors’ careers over just like that? Do the players just outright lose a year of eligibility? Will the NCAA give the players an extra year?

On Friday morning, all of the questions were answered. The NCAA released a statement saying that it is granting eligibility relief for all spring athletes that have been affected by this decision. However, a decision on eligibility for winter sports has not yet been determined. The Poly Post interviewed some student-athletes to get their opinions on this bizarre situation.

William Christmas | Senior guard, kinesiology

“It’s definitely tough. Being a senior, it’s harder not being able to go out and compete until the end. But it’s for the safety of all of us involved, so you can’t be too mad at it. Obviously, you want to play so bad, but you have to understand and accept the decision and err on the side of safety and precaution. I just hope this virus doesn’t escalate any further.”

Kasey Smit | Senior forward, liberal studies

“It sucks that they canceled winter sports because the team has worked so hard this year. When we found out that our game was canceled, we were all in a (sorrowful) mood. We did not want to end our season this way at all, but with everything going on, I hope the cases settle down and sports will start to thrive again because we are a society that associates around sports, and we love the anticipation sports bring to us.”

Nick Peifer | Junior outfielder, kinesiology

“I think it is unfortunate that it has come to this point. I understand their mindset behind the decision, as frustrating as it is. This decision was probably a very tough one to make but I think it was the right one. I hope that this decision is just a very precautionary measure and that COVID-19 will soon die down.”

Charisma Byrd | Senior multi-events, kinesiology

“Although I understand the NCAA’s decision on canceling all winter and spring sports, I was beyond heartbroken. As a graduating senior, I am at a loss for words. It is crazy to think that I’ve played my sport for 12 years, and this is how it ends. Like any senior, I was not prepared to lose this part of myself quite yet. Having my final season completely canceled felt like my four collegiate years of hard work were put to waste. Practicing for nearly four hours a day to have the opportunity to compete at national meets, never did I think my practice on Thursday would be my last … truly unbelievable.”

Monica Todd | Senior forward, sociology

“I honestly have mixed emotions. I understand the safety precautions that need to be taken during this difficult time, but I can’t help but feel sorrow for all of the seniors all over the nation who have had their last year stripped away from them. I think it’s important to cherish moments as a student athlete and to play every game like it’s the last.”

Nia Vance | senior hurdles / jumps, psychology

“Honestly, the news is devastating. It was so sudden. One moment school and practices were put on pause, the next moment our entire season is just over. For student-athletes, our lives revolve around our sport, and for everything to just abruptly end is rough. It’s extremely hard on seniors because, for us, it’s our last go-around. It’s definitely a hard hit, but as athletes we know that something far greater has to be on the other side of all this. Better days to come for sure.”

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