COVID has severely impacted athletic programs all over the country. To find out more about how the pandemic has affected Saint Augustine’s University, The Falcon Forum sat down with Interim Athletic Director David Bowser.
Q. How has COVID impacted student athletes?
A. The impact has truly been on the life level of changes people have to deal with as far as some people being sick, some people losing family members, family members being sick. The dynamic of having to go home early last year, the fact that we have to operate and function in a bubble there has just been so many areas that students have been affected. The greatest effect on student athletes is the slow down of their season.
Q. Which sport is affected by the CIAA COVID regulations?
A. All the sports have been affected, last spring we have no spring sports and they tried to get started this fall but they got postponed. Football was postponed until 2021, volleyball, indoor track and cross country has been postponed, basketball will be monitored closely. The conference has been trying to keep the student athletes safe from a health standpoint.
Q. Are student athletes scholarships impacted by COVID?
A. No, the NCAA covers that. Whatever the requirements and restrictions are for grant aid should be honored. The only things that may be adjusted are changed based on what the students performance may have been in the classroom or if anything may have changed on their financial aid status. From an athletic perspective a grant aid shouldn’t be any change’
Q. As it relates to the email which outlines the sports that will resume and those that are postponed, what is the next step for those that will resume?
A. They want to get all the spring sports that were postponed last spring so they can get their season up and running. They will possibly fit volleyball sports in the spring and they are still working to have a January 9th basketball for conference. Of Course all those will be affected by the progress of COVID, where we are numbers and health wise; those things will be factored in on the government level but as of right now these are just processes that are being put in place.
Q. Will student athletes competing in their respective sports will wear masks?
A. It depends on what the requirements are, if they are not participating.
Q. Will there be regular COVID testing?
A. Yes, there will be regular COVID testing to ensure the safety of students; common areas will be sanitized as well to ensure that athletes will be safe, As we progress things will get better but things will never be as we have known them before. However, things will progress and we will learn how to keep the student athletes safe which is the main objective and should be our #1 goal.
Q. What would you say to athletes that are undergoing stress or depression because they are not able to participate in their respective sports to encourage them?
A. We have professionals available on campus so students should utilize those resources, go sit down with your coaches and talk to them about what you are dealing with and then be allowed to be pointed in a direction that you go and talk to someone to be able to get some understanding of what you are dealing with because this has affected everyone, coaches, administrators, the student athletes most importantly, the student population; COVID has placed a lot of stress on people in different areas and it’s best to communicate with people to seek assistance and get someone to just listen sometimes and keep the faith that things are going to get better.