Student athletes adjust to new normal amid pause on competition

Unable+to+practice+with+their+teammates+or+compete%2C+student+athletes%2C+like+Tyler+Garrard+on+the+men%E2%80%99s+soccer+team%2C+are+adjusting+by+working+out+at+home+and+seeing+teammates+virtually.+

Photo courtesy of CSUSM Athletics

Unable to practice with their teammates or compete, student athletes, like Tyler Garrard on the men’s soccer team, are adjusting by working out at home and seeing teammates virtually.

Brittney Scardina, Staff Writer

Unlike ever before, CSUSM student athletes are unable to compete in the sport they love. 278 student athletes are going through the fall semester with no in-person activities, including practice and competition. 

The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) decided on May 12 that it would be safest to postpone in-person play for the fall semester and resume when safe.

“Based on Chancellor White’s May 12 announcement that the vast majority of CSU courses will be virtual for the fall semester of the 2020-21 academic year, and with utmost consideration for the health and welfare of our students, coaches, staff, faculty and communities, CCAA member institutions have determined that NCAA sport competition will not occur during the fall of 2020,” read the CCAA news release in part. 

The athletic department and student athletes are completing compliance and medical paperwork so that student athletes can eventually start to attend Zoom workouts and strategy talks. Teams are currently allowed to meet on Zoom to socialize and meet new teammates.

“Our number one goal this semester has been about the care of our student athletes and providing care, resources and support,” said CSUSM Director of Athletics Jennifer Milo. (Anneliese Esparza)

CSUSM’s Director of Athletics Jennifer Milo said, “It’s been a very difficult six months, it’s been a rollercoaster. None of us have gone through a pandemic like this.” 

The athletic department understands how hard this is for athletes and continues to care about student athletes and their mindset and wellbeing.

“Our number one goal this semester has been about the care of our student athletes and providing care, resources and support,” said Milo.

She said that she wants athletes to know that the athletic department is here to support them and be there for them.

Student athletes who are on scholarship will receive their scholarship amounts through the entire academic school year, said Milo. 

Andrea Wood, a senior criminal justice major on the softball team, said, “The athletic department is doing a really great job of showing support for student athletes.” 

Andrea Wood on the softball team said she is “trying to stay motivated” during the pause on in-person athletic activities. (Photo courtesy of CSUSM Athletics)

Wood said that it helps a student athlete’s attitude to know that their athletic department is in full support behind them despite the unusual circumstances of the fall semester. 

This semester is not only very unusual for student athletes but also very sad. “It is like a heartbreak because I like playing soccer and being around my teammates, being at school,” said Tyler Garrard, a senior criminal justice major on the men’s soccer team.

Garrard said it is hard not spending time on campus meeting with his team and training for the season, especially during his senior season. 

Another concern student athletes have for the fall is that because of the online situation, they cannot meet with their new teammates in person and get to know them at the beginning of the school year like they usually do.

“My main concern for the spring is that we won’t get to build a relationship with the new girls on the team like we usually do in the fall because we won’t be able to meet them or practice until the spring,” said Wood.  

Student athletes are doing their best to stay fit and are practicing on their own to keep in shape. “I practice outside on my own and try to hit the gym,” said Garrard. 

Student athletes are doing their best to stay in shape, but it is hard not to be practicing with their teams. Wood also said she is “trying to stay motivated.”

The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) has not yet decided on a plan for the spring semester but is expected to release a plan later this month. (Synthia Ayala)

There is no decision regarding in-person athletic activities during the spring semester. Classes at CSUSM will be mainly virtual through the spring and the CCAA will meet later this month to decide on the following season for athletes.

The athletic department and student athletes are still adjusting this semester to the current situation and hope to resume play eventually. 

For the latest CCAA updates, visit goccaa.org/sports/2020/3/25/covid-19-resources.aspx.

Editor’s Note: The writer of this piece, Brittney Scardina, is a student athlete on the CSUSM softball team.

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California