Mateo Vasquez ’21
After a year without athletic competitions, the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) has shone a light at the end of a dark tunnel. There will now be intercollegiate competition for the Spring semester with a modified season. The NESCAC has now joined the ranks of other Division III conferences by allowing for a spring season to occur.
However, the decision comes with a variety of conditions that should be noted. Trinity will participate in a limited season against other schools in the following sports: baseball, softball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, tennis, and outdoor track and field. All competition must remain adherent to the local and institutional policies so that rates of transmission can remain low. The season is set to begin in April and will continue into the end of May.
Another interesting element to consider for the spring semester is that the winter and fall sports that were unable to host their seasons will now be given the opportunity to have locally-based contests.
The main emphasis that was continually repeated in the report was that competition can resume and continue as long as individual campuses and alert levels remain at a consistent level that allows for play to occur. As Director of Athletics Drew Galbraith told the Tripod, “Between mitigation efforts, regular testing and supervision, athletics and recreation is one of the most regulated and monitored co-curricular pursuits for our students. We are proud that our student-athletes, coaches and staff will be among the leaders who will illustrate how to participate in campus activities in a safe and responsible manner.”
There have been no reported COVID cases in the fall semester related to athletics, according to the College, and these results played a large part in the decision to return to an athletic season for the spring semester. The opportunity is definitely an amazing demonstration for athletes to show that amidst a pandemic, with the proper safety measures in place, athletic competition is still an option.
Following this announcement last week, there is still a lot that is currently in the works. Competition is not set to take place until April and many teams are now attempting to figure out when and where athletic competitions will take place. In order to keep virus transmission low and allow for the safest possible conditions on campus, Trinity teams will have a variety of strict guidelines relating to travel and competition. Competition will only occur through day trips and all athletes must practice physical distancing en route to competitions. While away from campus no indoor dining will be permitted and masks must be worn at all times, including during competition.
Unfortunately, there will not be any spectators permitted at games, however there is a diligent effort to make sure that all NESCAC locations are able to livestream the events throughout the semester in some capacity. Of course, a key caveat to all of this is that adjustments can be made at any time throughout the semester and all school administrations and the NESCAC will be monitoring everything closely to ensure that conditions remain safe and that all protocols are being followed.
While there are still a lot of unknowns in the coming weeks, this is definitely a sign of a return back to some kind of normal. If everyone remains vigilant athletics are here to stay and will emerge from the pandemic storonger than ever.