The university declined to comment about the cancellation of club sports for the spring 2021 semester.
In the fall 2020 semester, the university released a decision in response to the Colonial Athletic Association’s (CAA) announcement to suspend all fall sports until the following season. Although all fall teams, such as field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and cross country were not able to compete, these teams were promised a competitive season for the spring semester.
The university’s athletic department pledged to “diligently explore opportunities to create a competitive season for the fall sports programs during the spring of 2021.”
University President Dennis Assanis released a statement on the matter, citing the health and safety of the athletes and fans as the main reason for the difficult decision.
“Though I’m disappointed that we won’t get to cheer on the Blue Hens this fall, I’m already looking forward to some great matchups in 2021,” read the statement.
Many incoming club athletes held onto this promise and were excited to step onto the fields this past spring semester. All club participants received an email on February 24 saying that in-person club practice had been approved by the University of Delaware Health Advisory Committee beginning the week of March 1, but the university again decided to suspend all club sports shortly after that email was sent out.
Freshman Jenna Wright, a new member of the Women’s Club Soccer team, was disappointed by the news.
“I was definitely upset at first, especially being a freshman and coming onto the team as a new member,” Wright, who just tried out at the beginning of the spring semester, said.
She continued by praising her captains and their ability to continue leading the team even though most of them missed out on their last chance to play soccer before graduating.
“[The seniors] still held their heads high and were great leaders throughout the rest of the season,” Wright said. “They still worked very hard to bond the team together, especially for the future years.”
Although club sports were put on pause for another semester, the varsity teams continued to play. This includes the fall varsity sports that were also pushed to the spring semester. Spring sports were planned during their customary seasons, but all teams were told to expect a shortened, modified season.
Varsity sports continued with a slightly shortened season, but still had fans in attendance and the opportunity to travel for away games as well as access to rapid COVID-19 testing.
“I was a bit surprised because varsity sports were still able to travel and have games,” Wright said. “I definitely understand that it is not as competitive or as high of a level [of playing], but I figured that if it was allowed for varsity sports it would be the same for all sports across the board.”
Her team continued to practice twice a week, which brought them much closer even though they were no longer able to travel for games.
The university is hopeful that all sports will resume to some extent in the fall 2021 semester.