By Raul Orozco
COVID-19 has created a large collection of problems, including the possibility of sports seasons being canceled.
That stress is shared by athletes and coaches alike. This year’s coaches were tasked with the responsibility of making the students-athletes better, while at the same time keeping them from getting sick.
The athletes were also expected to socialize in a safe way and mature in a quick fashion.
All fall Coaches had to adapt to new changes and regulations in order to keep themselves, their athletes, and the season safe from the pandemic.
Some of the expected changes for all three coaches include daily temperature checks, limited practicing group sizes and travel restrictions.
For Garrett Young, head cross country coach, the races he would’ve normally ran are not available due to other schools not competing or the races being shorter due to a limit in field sizes.
Brad Griffin, head football coach, had a rough start to his season after his team was placed under quarantine. He had doubts of whether his team would have a season or not.
However, things have changed for the better with the success they found in their last three games.
These changes have affected Griffin as well, with stutter starts for his offense and defense teams, limited locker room capacity and the constant sanitizing of equipment.
Jake Conrad, head volleyball coach, set up “pods” within his team and to make it easier to trace back if someone were to get sick.
Having these pods of players lowers the risk of the whole team getting sick. If a group did get sick, he could still have starters for the next matches.
Even through an adverse summer and a tough conference, the sports continued.
KCAC seasons continued due to unanimous decisions made by the coaches and presidents of the conference.
Conrad said, “I’ve had my doubts all along, but I’m grateful to keep playing. And we’re doing so safely and mindful of what we’re doing.”
Griffin said that the KCAC and NAIA put together task forces that allowed research, learning, and planning on how the seasons would proceed.
It was difficult for the coaches not to feel doubtful, given the circumstances.
Young said he experienced real worry when the football team got quarantined. Before the season started, he was worried that the whole team would get sick and be shut down immediately.
Conrad said he’s been experiencing real doubt all throughout the season. Both Conrad and Griffin are taking it one day at a time to do everything they can to keep rolling.
A crucial part of college sports is recruiting. The pandemic has brought forth many challenges that contradict traditional recruiting.
The volleyball team has had a large freshman class come in, but Conrad is experiencing trouble finding time for communicating with the recruits.
“I’m always rescheduling matches, establishing match dates and new changes so it is a difficult time to spend time with recruits.”
Griffin has to approach recruiting in a different manner, as high schools are either not competing or have very limited spectator sizes.
His team doesn’t move into serious recruiting until November, December and January, but he feels he will have to depend on social media, film and high school coaches quite a bit.
Young has not had as tough go about recruiting, he said his recruiting has not been affected.
Running times are easy for him to acquire and he recruits in-state or from some of the nearby states that do have seasons this year.
Both athletes and coaches are able to compete and look forward to keeping the streak going.
With the basketball season opening up, a similar set of challenges is sure to arise.
“SC has handled everything at the highest standard or quality in the face of pandemic, and I don’t know what result we could’ve asked for. I think a lot of schools have handled things recklessly, but not here,” said Young.