The end of April marks a big point for many collegiate sports, as most Spring sports would be wrapping up their seasons and going into post-season at this time. However, since the NCAA and the conferences have suspended play, athletes and coaches are trying to stay in contact and abreast of what will happen in the fall. The fate of the fall season has yet to be decided at most universities and conferences.
Savannah State University Volleyball Head Coach Roselidah Obunaga said she was grateful her team played in the fall so their season was not cut short as many others' were.
“I was not surprised when they said everyone had to leave because this is something serious," she said. “But for my girls (volleyball team members) I made sure they were all OK before I settled down myself because I am not even required to be on the campus.”
When asked what strategies she developed in order to ensure the team is maintaining their fitness, she jokingly said, “Even if I did come up with something formal and rigid…how many of them would follow it?”
Obunaga said she has told her team to focus on their academics first.
“I have to be aware of their class situation as well," she said. "I know the teachers are probably stressing them out with work, so I won’t be the one to give them any added pressure…I won’t do that.”
Obunaga said she is checking in on the team and making sure they are keeping up in their courses, though.
“You know, it was a good thing I decided to start spring training early so now...at least they were able to get some exercise in before they all had to leave."
She said that neither Savannah State Athletics nor the NCAA has announced any decision for the upcoming fall season.
“Well at this point, the only thing anybody can do is wait. It doesn’t make sense to cancel a whole new season before it starts without proper direction…so really we just have to wait and see," she said. “If students can come back and they resume sports, I guess they will maybe have to implement a no-fan attendance policy like how it was done with some pro leagues. But as I said, nobody knows right now for sure.”
For SSU baseball outfielder Dwayne “DJ” Franklin, the season was cut in the middle due to the coronavirus pandemic, and he's not happy about it.
“When they just told us, at first I was mad…cause everybody was looking forward to it (the season)," he said. “But I understand. They have to make sure everybody is safe.”
Franklin said his coach has given the men some conditioning requests to keep in shape while they're out of play.
“Yeah, we got some at-home exercises and I mean…I’ve been jogging as consistent as I can. That’s about it really," he said. “And you know gyms aren’t open or whatever, so I’ve just had to find time to work on strength and whatever at home.”
Fans are as eager as athletes for a fall sports season. Sydney Palmer, a junior chemistry major, was looking forward to football season.
Palmer is keeping her fingers crossed.
“I hope we can at least come back in the fall…that’s the thing right now," she said. “Especially seeing that this thing (coronavirus) caused us to leave this semester, I know I ain’t the only one that’s looking forward to turn up this fall with everything…football, especially Homecoming. We looking forward to it."
Palmer is not oblivious to the threat that this crisis poses.
“I’m not saying they should rush anything and mess everybody up, but I just hope they (Savannah State) can find something out that makes everybody happy."