April 2021, Sports

Athletes plan to make most of extra year of eligibility

Since March of 2020, COVID-19 had made life miserable for athletes. For
seniors in their final season, it seemed like the end of the world.

But the NCAA took notice and has granted an extra year of eligibility for all college athletes.

The Falcon Forum interviewed some Falcon athletes to see the impact of the NCAA ruling on them.

One of the students is Deshawn Patterson, a senior basketball player from Lenoir North Carolina. He previously played at Lincoln Memorial University before transferring to Saint Augustine’s University.

Asked Deshawn how it felt to know that he would be able to get a chance to play his senior year after being granted an extra year, Patterson said, “I’ve never been happier about the opportunity and I won’t take it for granted.m It’s like I saw my collegiate career vanish from me in the blink of an eye. I haven’t played in the last couple years for personal reasons and to think I wasn’t going to be able to play when I finally have my chance because of a virus — that really put a different hurt on me.”

Now, Patterson said, “I will make every moment of this opportunity because I see how fast it can be taken away from me. …I want to bring a championship back to St.Aug that would be a perfect ending to all this chaos.”

William Steger, a basketball player from Norfolk, Virginia, is in a different situation than Patterson; he is a redshirt freshman who is eager to play. The extra year gives him more time to g=et ready, Steger said.

“I plan to train like never before,” Steger said. “I want to outwork everyone who doubted me and didn’t see what I see in myself. I plan on becoming faster and stronger while adding on a total of ten extra pounds so I can become a force on the boards.”

Steger continued: “Also it’s giving me a chance to learn from my teammates and the system that the coach likes so this extra year will be very valuable to me.”

Saint Augustine University men’s track and field team previously won the indoor CIAA championship in 2019 and was ready to bring home another championship in 2020. COVID-19 pandemic prevented the men’s track and field team from doing just that, the season was cancelled.

“Last year I was really hoping to go back-to-back wins at the CIAA Indoor championship,” said Annile Williams, a member of the men’s track and field.

Now, Williams will get another chance.

— Marquie Clemonts and Dejaun Davis