The coronavirus has put a halt on events from festivals and fireworks shows to commemorations and other celebrations.
It has also put a damper on something the Williamsburg community perhaps loves the most: Tribe Football.
The College of William & Mary decided last month to postpone all fall sports, including football, after the Colonial Athletic Association Football Board of Directors decided to postpone the competition for the 2020 season.
“While we are heartbroken for the student-athletes and their families impacted, we have been thoughtful and deliberate in our discussions and decision,” W&M Athletic Director Samantha Huge said in a prepared statement. “It is our hope and intention that if conditions safely permit, sports could be played in the Winter and Spring and we will evaluate the options in the months ahead.”
But what happens to the athletes in the meantime? Some players graduate in December and others on scholarship. What will the athletes do if fall sports are moved to the spring?
“The main priority has been ensuring they are in a safe place and remaining healthy while pursuing their academic studies,” Pete Clawson, spokesman for W&M Athletics, wrote in an email. “All athletic activities have been done on a voluntary basis as each student-athlete was provided with a work-out plan they could execute from home.”
Clawson said the athletes can start practicing in phases starting on the first week of classes per the NCAA sport guidelines:
- Phase I- Workout/practice groups will be limited to 10 people, including coaches. Social distancing will be adhered to, masks or face coverings will be worn when distancing cannot be maintained, equipment will not be shared among players, and training sessions will focus on individual skill work and conditioning.
- Phase II- Workout/practice groups may increase in size, distancing will be adhered to, equipment may be shared among team members, and training sessions will include organized group activities. Masks or face coverings will be worn based upon current state and college guidelines when distancing cannot be maintained.
- Phase III- Allows for larger groups, shared use of equipment, organized group activities and competition. Athletic training staff will work with coaches and student-athletes to put enhanced personal hygiene and equipment cleaning practices in place.
“The NCAA will likely issue guidelines regarding training and practice for the months ahead,” Clawson said.
The exact practice dates are still being finalized but will comply with the campus policies, social distancing measures and NCAA guidelines.
Athletes on scholarships with the university will keep their scholarship status and administrators are still figuring out what to do about players who graduate before their senior season.
“William & Mary is continuing to evaluate a number of scenarios related to a return to varsity sports competition, including the possibility of playing Fall sports in the Spring,” Clawson wrote.
WYDaily asked Clawson in an email what the coaches were doing now and if they were still getting a full salary despite not coaching a team for fall season.
“Recruiting, communicating with current student-athletes, handling a variety of administrative duties and planning for a variety of return to play scenarios,” he wrote.
He said the coaches are still getting their full salaries during this time.
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