The effects of COVID-19 have left college athletics in a precarious position. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the college sports world have adapted, rearranging schedules, and reconfiguring protocol. In this complicated landscape, where such a complex matter challenges them, schools like Monmouth University are doubling down on safety procedures.
Maneuvering around these health issues is pressing with the number one priority being students and faculty safety. A pandemic that has changed the landscape of college sports, leaving a bit of a circus. The restart since the stoppage has been plagued by cases of COVID-19 and it has not relented since. Even with the mask and sideline rules, rounds of testing, and other arrangements implemented, the risks still apply.
For the upcoming winter sports season at Monmouth, we will see similar actions taking place, along with the rest of the NCAA. Monmouth will be doing their best to ensure the safety of the students and the staff working their games. Associate Athletics Director for New Media & Communications, Greg Viscomi says, “There is an abundance of measures to keep our student-athletes safe. Social distancing, mask wearing, keeping them together in groups to limit outside contact, multiple testing, and constant symptom checks.”
The task of planning and continuing with normal winter sport functions has shown to be problematic. Furthermore as of now, the number of sports expected to play at Monmouth will be limited. When asked about what sports would be played, Marilyn McNeil, Ph.D., Director of Athletics at Monmouth said, “We will play basketball, both men’s and women’s. The MAAC will make a decision about swimming and indoor track and field.”These are unprecedented times where University athletics programs have had to create protocol they never envisioned in their tenure. “The entire goal is to have a safe environment for our student-athletes to play in,” said Viscomi. “That is the number one goal. The NCAA, the MAAC, and Monmouth University have strict guidelines that are being followed to ensure that everything is being done to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our teams, our University and the community”
That decision is reportedly supposed to take place on December 1, and a lot will be taken into consideration according to McNeil. She went on to say that as of “right now, swimming looks like a go for their February MAAC championships, but it will depend upon the state of New York for access to the facility in Buffalo.”
“The best way to watch Monmouth athletics this winter – for now – is on the ESPN+ platform,” said Viscomi. “Right now all of our home and away men’s and women’s conference basketball games will air on the platform.” With a subscription to ESPN+, anybody can stream and enjoy Monmouth sports no matter what the circumstances are this winter. The obvious challenges that are present in today’s climate are creating setbacks and a cloudy environment where there is some heavy logistics to be thought about. The uncertainty of how things pan out has cast a shadow on some of the normalcies of the winter sports season, but rest assured there are ways around it.
PHOTOS COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics