CPP is getting the ball rolling with efforts to allow sports teams back on campus for training with mandatory safety guidelines. The university’s track and field athletes were the first group to come back onto campus in April for practice while following testing protocols and social distancing.
While student-athletes are not obligated to return, approximately 40 Broncos are training in-person as the campus prepares for further health and safety measures that may need to be implemented in the fall.
Stephanie Duke, senior associate athletics director, revealed that fall training schedules are not finalized, but anticipates them to be out by summer 2021.
“We are taking steps to return and follow all of the guidelines by next fall,” said Duke. “We brought one group of student-athletes back.”
Many student-athletes are eager to return to their sport, as they have not competed since March 2020.
Bridget L. Carbonneu, sophomore defensive midfielder for the women’s soccer team, said, “This long break has allowed me to increase my passion and excitement for the sport. Since I do not have anyone else to play with, it is hard to work on things without my team.”
The pandemic not only prevented multiple sports from competing, but it also affected methods of team bonding.
Jayda B. Villareal, junior guard for the women’s basketball team, said, “We have consistent Zoom meetings and assigned buddies to work on things with, but it’s not the same as practicing and conditioning together.”
With Division I sports and professional leagues competing again, CPP’s D-II student-athletes await approval from the CCAA, Los Angeles County and university administrators for permission to play again.
Villareal said, “Although I am happy for D-I athletes, it is a big financial privilege for those teams to go back since they have the money for COVID-19 testing kits, which was one of the main reasons we could not go back.”
According to The New York Times, COVID-19 test prices range from $50-100 for every test; D-I student-athletes are being tested multiple times a week. According to UCLA, a D-I school, rapid testing for contact sports occur daily to ensure the safety of the teams.
Unlike Carbonneu and Villareal, Ricky Nunez, a sophomore outfielder for the men’s baseball team, expressed that he has not been able to play for the Broncos since he transferred to the school during the pandemic, but is able to play at Mt. San Jacinto College, a junior college, in the meantime.
“My situation is different than my teammates at Cal Poly Pomona,” Nunez said. “I was able to work something out with the coaches at CPP and the junior college I’m playing at, but I’ll be back at CPP by fall.”
Since Nunez is not able to suit up as a Bronco right now, he is playing another season at Mt. San Jacinto College. To accommodate his situation, Nunez is a full-time student at both CPP and MSJC.
He added, “The pandemic increased my motivation and encouraged me to work harder because I had time to get better. I used my time to the best of my ability, and it made me more hungry to get back onto the field and compete at CPP.”
Despite COVID-19 obstacles, the lack of competition and active sports did not affect recruitment or scholarships. Duke added that coaches are ahead of recruitment and some fall and spring teams are finished recruiting. Student-athletes are still required to meet academic eligibility guidelines to continue receiving their scholarships.