NEW BRITAIN - It was a speech Tom Pincince didnâ€™t want to have to give when he met with the Central Connecticut State spring student-athletes on Wednesday morning and a speech they unfortunately had to hear: due to coronavirus concerns, all athletics activities have been canceled until at least April 7.
â€śWe met with our spring student-athletes and let them know they wouldnâ€™t be playing for at least three weeks and that the possibility of it being an entire season was on the table,â€ť said Pincince, the schoolâ€™s interim director of athletics. â€śAnd thatâ€™s devastating to have to tell a group of student-athletes who may be playing their final season. But when weâ€™re talking about health and safety and the bigger picture, weâ€™re trying to express to them the importance of that and that this decision wasnâ€™t made lightly. It was made with the university community in mind, with the student-athletes in mind, with the other students in mind and everyone theyâ€™re going to come in contact with.â€ť
â€śThere were [student-athletes] who were upset, some who were emotional and they have every right to be,â€ť Pincince added. â€śI think we were able to express to them how important this decision was, but when you work really hard for something and then have it taken away, it can cause some emotions and thatâ€™s understandable.â€ť
CCSU took its directive from the Connecticut State Universities system (CCSU, Eastern Connecticut State, Southern Connecticut State and Western Connecticut State), which recommended the schools take an additional two weeks off from sports following next weekâ€™s spring break.
The university has also been discussing what the cancellations will mean for the remainder of the spring seasons for baseball, softball, womenâ€™s lacrosse and menâ€™s and womenâ€™s outdoor track and have already begun taking precautions. CCSU announced on Tuesday the baseball teamâ€™s baseball teamâ€™s three-game series at Creighton and the softball teamâ€™s three-game road trip in Florida scheduled later this month were canceled. Tuesdayâ€™s baseball game against Manhattan in New Britain was played without fans in attendance and Wednesdayâ€™s softball doubleheader against Manhattan was also scheduled to be played in an empty park, but the game wound up being canceled before first pitch. Any kind of fall or winter sports in the midst of offseason workouts have also been put on hold.
With April 7 scheduled as the return date, it will just be a matter of whether or not CCSU will cancel the remainder of its spring season. Other conferences such as the Big East, Big 10, Ivy League, Patriot League and American East have already decided not to play any sport for the rest of the academic year and the NCAA announced on Thursday it was canceling winter and spring championships, including the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s Division I basketball tournaments and the College World Series.
The Northeast Conference has not made any kind of announcement yet, other than to suspend conference play until at least March 29.
â€śThis is a prudent measure to ensure the health, safety and wellness of NEC student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media,â€ť NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris said in a statement. â€śWe are committed to providing opportunities to compete for our student-athletes, but their health and wellness is our top priority. We will continue to monitor the latest developments on the COVID-19 virus with the well-being of our member institutions and their communities in mind.â€ť
Even professional leagues have postponed play. The NBA and NHL are on indefinite hiatuses and MLB is pushing the start of its regular season back by two weeks.
â€śRight now, our status remains the same as yesterday in that weâ€™re off until at least April 7,â€ť Pincince said. â€śThereâ€™s no athletic activities.â€ť
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org