Since March 11 when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacted sports in the United States with professional basketball player Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID-19, the sporting world essentially came to a stop.
Out of caution, games and seasons at the youth, college and professional levels were postponed or canceled since Gobert’s contraction of COVID-19.
The NCAA was one of many sporting entities that canceled events to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
The NCAA canceled its spring sports seasons and championships along with winter championships at the Division I Division II and Division III levels.
Elizabeth City State University and Chowan University are members of the NCAA at the Division II level.
For Elizabeth City State, the cancellations impacted its women’s bowling team, which was set to compete in the CIAA bowling tournament this month, and spring sports — men’s golf, softball and women’s tennis.
Chowan’s women’s bowling team along with spring sports baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s lacrosse were impacted by the cancellations.
Since March 13, the NCAA Division II Administrative Committee has taken several actions to help athletes and schools.
That includes allowing schools to grant waivers to athletes that would have used up all of their eligibility in the spring 2020 semester to compete in spring 2021 if the student-athlete was eligible for competition during the 2019-20 academic year and the season was canceled due to COVID-19.
The waiver also includes assisting transfer athletes if they meet the same criteria.
ECSU and Chowan seem willing to assist impacted student-athletes.
“While there is much disappointment as we miss our ECSU spring season practices and competitions during this pandemic, there is much to be thankful for. Our Vikings are strong and resilient,” ECSU athletic director George Bright said in a statement Thursday.
“I am incredibly thankful for our supportive community during this time, and I am grateful that our Viking student-athletes, coaches and staff show terrific leadership and understanding through this process. We will work with our ECSU student-athletes that fit this criteria accordingly to provide the best academic and athletic experience possible.”
Chowan athletic director Patrick Mashuda released an open letter to the school’s student-athletes Thursday:
“The last two weeks have been excruciating for each of you. You have been tasked to deal with very real-world issues in an unprecedented time. Just like you, athletic administrators are navigating the fallout in college athletics and in higher education nationwide without a map of any kind, but with the safety of each student-athlete in mind.
This is not just a Chowan issue. This is a global issue that we have watched dramatically unfold over the last two plus weeks. For our spring sports teams enthralled in the midst of competition, your pain is our pain. For those seniors who missed out on senior day festivities, the athletic department is working to find creative ways to celebrate your successes and honor your time here.
The NCAA has provided some waiver possibilities and we are currently working with our conference office to see how these waivers would apply to our affected student-athletes. As we learn more about how to best handle these situations, communication will be forthcoming regarding any compliance updates.
I encourage you to stay connected with your professors, your coaches, your teammates, your athletic trainers, your athletic administrative support team, and all vital campus offices as we move forward in this process together. Thankfully technology has advanced to keep us connected in ways we could not have thought of even 10 years ago. However, email remains the main form and official communication for the University as a whole.”
Chowan has also offered mental health and wellness resources for its athletes on its athletics website www.GoCUhawks.com.