There’s going to be a blank line next to 2019-20 in the college sports record books after an unprecedented move by the NCAA last Thursday.
The governing body of collegiate sports elected to cancel its remaining championships in winter and spring sports at the Division I, II and III levels due to the evolving COVID-19 public health threat. The decision created a domino effect among the nation’s universities and colleges, including the University of Mount Olive.
School officials announced Friday that they have canceled the spring sports season.
“Our coaches and student-athletes are naturally disappointed by the decision to cancel the rest of the spring season, but they understand the decision was made with regard to protecting the safety and health of not only student-athletes and coaches, but also support staff, officials and fans,” said Jeff Eisen, vice president of athletics at UMO.
The UMO softball team posted one last selfie on its Facebook page.
“Our heart breaks that this season is over, but today we are counting our blessings,” the post read. “While the remainder of the season has been taken from us, the memories and accomplishments will last forever.”
There is a silver lining, despite the devastating news.
The NCAA’s Council Coordination Committee agreed to grant spring sports participants another year of eligibility. Schools will have to take into account the number of scholarships available and consider adjustments to waivers of rules where appropriate.
“I am sure that this is something we will explore,” Eisen said.
UMO extended its spring break through March 23.
The campus remains open and operational, but student-athletes in seated courses will now take courses online. Adult and graduate program courses will continue online.
Outside community members will have restricted access to the cafeteria, Pope Wellness Center and Moye Library on campus.
“We have been monitoring the COVID-19 virus situation for the past several weeks,” said Dr. Ed Croom, interim president of UMO. “Although we have had no cases reported involving the UMO community, we are fully aware of the need to be proactive in implementing steps to keep the entire UMO community as safe as possible.”