By Jamie Belfer || Sports Editor
The persistent spread of COVID-19 has created much uncertainty regarding F&M athletics in the 2020-2021 school year, seriously affecting the likelihood of having a “normal” season. Although the fall and winter sports have been canceled, time will only tell as to the fate of the spring season.
Before this school year began, F&M declared that fall sports were suspended, leaving hope for fall athletes to have a modified season in the spring. However, on December 10th, the Centennial Conference released a statement canceling both fall and winter sports, citing rising COVID-cases, restricted travel and visiting policies on campuses, and a later start to the spring semester as some of many factors that contributed to this decision. Although the cancellation is disappointing news for many, the Centennial Conference asserted that “the health and safety of our campuses and surrounding communities must be our top priority.”
The Centennial Conference has yet to come to a decision regarding the upcoming spring season. This resolution has continued to be delayed so as to make as informed a decision and solution that prioritizes the health and safety of players, coaches, and the community. A meeting is now set for early February for the CC to continue to discuss plans for the spring season.
In a normal season, spring practices usually begin on the first of February. However, since the college’s winter break has been extended and students will be settling in and getting tested in early February, F&M decided to push the start date for spring sports practices to February 8th. However, for health and safety reasons, the start date for practices was pushed back yet again, now scheduled for February 15th. Masks, social distancing practices, and group-size limitations will all be required for practices.
While awaiting this decision may be frustrating for players, it does seem as though the CC wants to make an informed decision as to whether or not schools can compete safely. There are many factors and questions influencing this decision to consider. With a start to sports in the cold month of February, can schools safely practice in indoor facilities? Will teams playing (or not playing) be able to adhere to policies regarding traveling off-campus and having guests come to campus? And if a vaccine is available in late spring, will this change the decision?
As teams await the decision for the spring, they continue to work hard and prepare for what is to come—whether it will be a season of many games, few games, or only practices. Whatever decision the Centennial Conference makes, however, F&M athletics hopes to make the most out of the unique season, as they did in the fall.
Junior Jamie Belfer is the Sports Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.