University sports cancelled for Fall 2020 due to coronavirus
Early this afternoon, the university announced that all fall sports are suspended due to concerns surrounding coronavirus.
Any student-athletes who choose not to participate in the 2020-2021 academic year will not have any scholarships revoked, and they will remain in good standing with their team for this academic year. The university will also continue with voluntary workout participation that is currently taking place.
The Colonial Athletic Association’s conference also has not made a collective decision on sports outside of football, but several other institutions already suspended their seasons as well including Towson, Stony Brook, and Hofstra. James Madison University is attempting to rebuild their football schedule despite the CAA’s cancellation of the season.
A decision has not yet been made regarding eligibility for seniors who will graduate before a season is able to start. In the spring, the National Collegiate Athletic Association granted an extra year of eligibility to all student-athletes in spring sports whose seasons were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Head Football Coach Danny Rocco said he will be pulling back on recruitment “because of the uncertainty of the landscape moving forward.”
“You don’t want to get into a situation where you are out of scholarships and overpopulated because you have returners coming back in a given year that you thought may have departed and then incoming guys when you weren’t expecting some of those 5th year guys to come back,” Rocco said.
For now, the university has its hopes set on a spring football season, according to Athletic Director Chrissi Rawak.
“I think we’re prepared to start [a spring conference schedule] next week,” Rawak said in a media Zoom conference.
Football student-athlete Nolan Henderson said the team is ready to get back on the field regardless of the season.
“We don’t care if it’s in the winter — it could be negative 10 degrees — we just want to get back on the field and play,” Henderson said.
Rocco said their staff and team are in full support of the university’s decision.
“It hurts, it’s painful and it’s emotional, but as you take a step back, it is clearly the right thing to do,” Rocco said.
Football student-athlete Kedrick Whitehead said the ups and downs of the last few months have been difficult, but the team is managing to keep in shape together.
“As Delaware football players, we face adversity all the time so it’s nothing new,” Whitehead said. “A lot of the guys’ situations are different. Some guys had access to weights, and some guys didn’t have that access.”
Whitehead said the team came up with a Snapchat group message, where they send videos to each other daily with workout challenges.
“Nobody knows what’s happening and nobody knows what’s going to happen, but there’s not much that we can do to control that,” Whitehead said. “We can only control ourselves getting better each and every day, and I feel like as a program if all of us get better daily, by the time this is all said and done we’ll come back ten times stronger, ten times faster and ten times more aware.”