The Atlantic 10 Conference and Colonial Athletic Association both announced June 17 that they would postpone their upcoming fall sports seasons because of safety and health concerns regarding COVID-19, according to A-10 and CAA press releases.
All of University of Richmond’s fall sports teams compete in one of the two conferences, with soccer, field hockey and cross country competing in the A-10 and football competing in the CAA.
The A-10's fall competitive schedule for men’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s swimming and diving and women’s rowing would be postponed, according to its press release. Non-traditional competition seasons for baseball, softball and women’s lacrosse will be postponed as well, according to the press release.
Both conferences plan to reschedule their fall seasons to spring 2021.
“The league intends to conduct a competitive schedule for the fall sports in the 2021 spring semester,” the A-10 press release stated. “Safety, health and the well-being of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and the campus community at large is the primary concern and responsibility of the Atlantic 10 Conference and its member institutions.”
The A-10 agreed to have a “look-in window” around mid-September that would allow for a potential return of fall sports if the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic had been greatly reduced, according to its press release.
Both conferences also allowed for teams to continue practicing during the upcoming semester in their press releases, as long as they continue to follow guidelines set by their institution, the government and the NCAA.
“For the 2020-21 academic year, institutions will have the ability to manage practice activities for its football student-athletes in a manner that best meets institutional, federal, state and local guidelines, as well as NCAA Rules,” the CAA wrote in its press release.
“Hearing about our season was definitely difficult to process,” football redshirt senior Colby Ritten said. “I know my team has worked extremely hard during the off-season and were prepared to have a great year.”
The same level of disappointment was seen in field hockey redshirt senior Becky Carter after her team worked so hard in the offseason.
“In the past few days, it’s difficult to know that the season has been postponed when every single girl on the team has been putting in hard work to prepare for the fall season over the summer,” Carter said. “It’s definitely been an adjustment period and a time to take what is happening in for all of us.”
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Despite the upsetting news, UR coaches are still working hard to navigate their teams through these unprecedented times.
“Our coaches at Richmond have been nothing but positive,” Ritten said. "Even with this heavy news, they continue to show great leadership and help keep the team focused. I am very pleased with how they are handling things and excited to start working with them again."
Cross country rising senior Trey Burleson had similarly positive things to say about how his coaching staff was handling the situation.
“The cross country and track & field coaching staff has been resilient and committed to their athletes through this difficult time,” Burleson said. “The staff has been pro-active, adaptive and communicative.”
Similar to when the NCAA canceled all winter and spring championships in March, seniors face the question of whether they will be able to compete in their final year.
“I think it has been especially difficult for the seniors who may not have the opportunity to compete again in cross country,” cross country rising senior Rebecca Fagan said. “Our coaches, trainers and all of the staff in the athletic department have been extremely supportive of the fall sports teams and have provided resources to help those affected.”
Soccer redshirt senior Alyssa Walker also expressed the difficulty seniors had to go through.
“The last few days have been filled with a lot of change and confusion,” Walker said. “Being a redshirt senior, I was really looking forward to this season.”
Despite the bad news they had received these past days, weeks and months, all the athletes expressed a strong level of optimism.
“The season being postponed just gives me more time to prepare and get excited for the spring,” Walker said.
Contact sports editor Krystian Hajduczka at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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