This wait-and-see situation regarding the continuation of athletic events due to the COVID-19 pandemic took a turn for the worse on Monday afternoon for Reinhardt University.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, of which Reinhardt is a member, announced on its website the cancellation of all spring sports for the 2019-20 school year. The announcement comes only days after Friday’s announcement which cancelled all events through April 5.
“All possible scenarios that would have supported a spring sports season were seriously considered by multiple NAIA governance groups,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr in a statement. “However, the growing state of emergency due to COVID-19, as well as the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation yesterday to limit gatherings to fewer than 50 people for eight weeks, meant we could not in good conscience move forward with the spring sports season and championships.”
The press release did offer a bit of hope for the athletes affected by the events.
“In an effort to provide relief, no spring sport student-athlete will be charged a season of competition,” the statement read. “Any spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled full-time in 2020 will be awarded two additional semester terms of attendance or the equivalent.”
The NAIA’s announcement follows the NCAA announcing last Thursday the cancellation of its remaining winter sports, including the men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments, along with all its spring sports championships.
Reinhardt has 11 total teams competing in spring sports including baseball, softball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field along with men’s volleyball. Several of those teams were ranked in the top 25 of their respective sports, including several in the top 5 in the country. Men’s Lacrosse, the three-time defending national champions, was ranked No. 1 while the women’s lacrosse team was ranked No. 3. The men’s tennis team was ranked No. 5 while the baseball team was ranked No. 23 and the softball team was ranked No. 21. The men’s golf team finished the season ranked No. 17.