NE-10 announces fall sports will not play in spring of 2021

Davin Roy, Contributing Writer

The Northeast-10 has ended all the “what-ifs” of the fall 2020 season, deciding, meaning football, soccer, volleyball, field hockey or cross country will not play. The announcement was made official on Jan. 13. The spring semester will be very similar to sports last semester. Depending on state guidelines, teams will be able to have weight room sessions along with small group practice sessions.

This decision follows an announcement from the conference on Dec. 15 on the decision to cancel the winter sports season which includes men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s indoor track and field. With the latest announcement from the NE10, 11 of the 18 varsity programs at New Haven will go an entire academic year without intercollegiate competition.

Upon the decision to uphold the official canceling of 2020 fall sports, University president Steven H. Kaplan said, “This was a very difficult decision to make, as we know the important role that athletics plays in the lives of each of our student-athletes. Above all, though, our priority is protecting their health and well-being. We remain committed to ensuring that all of our student-athletes have opportunities to safely interact with their coaches and teammates, as they had throughout the fall semester, and I am confident they will continue to excel in the classroom, in their training, and as ambassadors for the University.”

Freshman soccer player Emily Bogdanowicz said, “I feel that it was the right call to cancel the season but still allow athletes to practice. It was safer for everyone to not have gameplay. Without playing actual games, I am still glad to practice with the team and be able to interact with collegiate soccer as much as possible.”

All-conference center for New Haven football and graduate student Mike Zecchin said, “I wasn’t really surprised by what’s been happening this year. When the fall season was canceled during the summer, we knew that it was an uphill battle to play the season in the spring with how limited we were during our workouts last semester and with winter sports being canceled the writing on the wall for the decision about a spring season. Although I am very upset that we aren’t playing football right now, I’m optimistic for the season next fall.”

The university has been aware of the athletes’ struggles and has confidence that they will bounce back. Athletic director Sheahon Zenger said, “Our student-athletes showed great perseverance in dealing with a unique fall semester. While I know it will be challenging, I’m confident their resilience will be even stronger this spring… Our priority continues to be fostering the personal and professional development of each of our student-athletes and ensuring they are prepared for a lifetime of success on and off the field.”

The NE10 has not yet made a decision regarding whether spring sports will be given the green light for 2021. Sports at New Haven that would be included are baseball, softball, women’s lacrosse, women’s tennis and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field. With more people receiving the vaccine, and all sports taking place outdoors, leaves some optimism for sports to return on campus for the first time since Mar. 9, 2020 when women’s softball hosted its last home game.