The athletic department on Spring Hill College’s campus has been hard at work preparing for the return of athletes and how COVID-19 will affect sports this semester.
COVID-19 testing is mandatory for all athletes that are planning to compete this semester. “The NCAA graded risk of transmission for the sport (i.e. high, intermediate, low) dictates how often individuals associated with each team must be tested and in some cases by what type of test”, said Deputy Athletic Director for Internal Affairs and Compliance Chad Leblanc. Tennis Player, Macinley Chastain, said that she has been tested three times since returning in January. Leblanc also stated that, at this time, the COVID-19 vaccine is not required for the National Collegiate Athletic Association nor any other conference.
Sports on campus have been delayed until March of this year, and teams will have strict guidelines that they must follow. Leblanc said “Masking, social distancing, sanitizing and other safety measures are being enforced prior, during and after all practices and competitions.” According to Leblanc, any athlete who fails to show up to get tested for the virus will be suspended from the team for a week. Many athletes on campus are upset about not being able to play sports until March. “It makes me frustrated that other schools are allowing college football to be played but we are still having to wait”, said Chastain.
The athletic department has also had difficult times planning and making decisions about sports over this past year. Leblanc says that the most difficult thing that he has dealt with is the constant uncertainty of COVID-19. He says that they have written out schedules for each team and have had to rewrite them multiple times. When asked about how he thinks sports will look moving forward, Leblanc said “I think we will still be working under masking, social distancing and sanitizing guidelines for another academic year.” The athletic department hopes to see sports getting back to normal by the 2022-23 school year.