Happy Friday, everyone. Everything obviously feels strange this morning. We’d normally be reminding you of all of the upcoming weekend events, recapping SEC tournament basketball games, etc. Instead, we are left to look back on silly social media memes that proved prescient.
Ain’t that the truth?
For those wondering, we have no idea at this point if Alabama football will practice as scheduled.
Neither Alabama, nor Auburn has announced anything regarding spring practice or A-Day games. The Crimson Tide is scheduled to hold its first practice Friday while the Tigers first workout is set for Monday.
“I was on a conference call with one of our athletic departments where that was asked,” Sankey said of spring football practices. “Our athletic director talked about that afterwards. We’ve limited the size clearly of on campus events, and campuses are doing that individually, but I don’t have a prescriptive list right now around what’s going to happen with spring practice, spring football.”
What we do know is that spring break was extended by a week, to March 30, and that classes will be online only for some time after that. Nothing has been shared about graduation but you have to believe that it is in jeopardy as well, which would be heartbreaking for many students including my own son.
Of course, this disruption is an attempt to prevent the spread of a deadly virus. Life is far more valuable than sport, but sport is present day life for many student athletes, and today we recognize the losses of their seasons.
I’m sorry, son.
I’m sorry for every other NCAA championship-bound senior in every other winter and spring sport, all of whom had their college careers ended Thursday in a completely unimaginable way. I’m sorry for the ones you’ve heard of, like Cassius Winston and Sabrina Ionescu, but also for the ones you haven’t. I’m sorry for the wrestlers and the runners and the rowers and the softballers, all of whom worked (and worked, and worked) to get to this point. And, yes, for all the senior swimmers we’ve gotten to know and love and cheer for.
As bitter as this decision is for a young athlete he or she have bright futures ahead. A 74-year-old grandmother who catches coronavirus that didn’t have to might have no options.
This has become an increasingly divided nation, one side constantly angry at the other on many issues. Still, on Thursday, one could look on either side and see row after row of empty seats and, no matter what you thought of their emptiness, you could see heartbreak in every one.
Heartbreak, indeed, and a few of Alabama’s seniors shared theirs.
Beetle was the lone senior on this year’s men’s basketball squad, and he at least for to play his senior season. That isn’t the case, of course, for softball and baseball.
Please don’t make me hang up my cleats yet. Please.— Krystal A Goodman (@K__Goodman_97) March 12, 2020
Truly in tears for the last hour now. This all doesn’t seem real. Athletes keep your heads up. I’m feeling for all my seniors out there. Time will only tell where we go from here— Sarah Cornell (@Cornball) March 12, 2020
This one hurts man... no matter what the future holds I’ll forever be grateful for my time here at The University of Alabama. This team is something special and even though our time was cut short I know God’s got a plan! Roll Tide Forever— Kolby Robinson (@k_robinson20) March 13, 2020
Your heart has to go out to them.
Legendary UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma discussed the possibility of allowing seniors who play spring sports to return for another season.
Geno Auriemma on college athletes during NCAA Tournament cancellation
UConn Women's Basketball coach Geno Auriemma is in support of offering the seniors of spring sports an extra year of eligibility. “My feeling is this: It’s an unprecedented event so you have to take unprecedented measures."Posted by SportsCenter on Thursday, March 12, 2020
Logistically, I don’t see how this happens. You obviously can’t play games where one team has more players than another. I assume that there would have to be an “active” and “inactive” list for each game, but even then teams with larger roster numbers would have a matchup advantage. Forcing some freshmen into taking a redshirt year to accommodate these seniors would be another option, but that seems messy as well.
Some younger players on Alabama’s baseball team, that started the season on a 16-1 tear, weighed in as well.
The most devastating day in my athletic career without a doubt. I’ve said it before this team is special and the bond we have is unbreakable. At this point in time all we can do is wait and pray for a solution. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the virus. pic.twitter.com/6mU3xt3eFH— Owen Diodati (@owendiodati) March 12, 2020
I’m hurting. It sucks to have an entire season cancelled just like that. It doesn’t seem fair to me but that’s just how it is. This year was gonna be special. I don’t care about my achievements. I saw how hard our team worked and we earned the right to be great. Doesn’t seem real— Connor Shamblin (@cshamblin2) March 12, 2020
At the end of the day, GOD always gonna have us right! Prayers up to every baseball player that was effected by this. We will not let this define what we are as people. All love for everyone around the nation. ❤️❤️— TJ Reeves (@tjr1_) March 12, 2020
More of the same from #Team24.
Heartbroken. Love my seniors, love this team.— Montana Fouts (@MontanaFouts) March 13, 2020
My heart breaks most for the group of girls ahead of me who have grown into beautiful young women and who I have grown to love so much on and off the field. I don’t even know what to say. Except ask for prayers https://t.co/0TCkkQ4Gad— Kendall Beth Sides (@SidesKendall) March 12, 2020
Golfer Kenzie Wright:
The absolute worst feeling is knowing I played my last tournament with my team not knowing it would be the last. Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now https://t.co/Z4fvJg2MSx— Kenzie Wright (@kenziewgolf) March 12, 2020
Softball alum Sydney Littlejohn Watkins:
Again I understand the necessary precautions to protect the people and athletes participating, but does anyone have any ideas how we can advocate for the athletes so they aren’t completely losing their seasons? I just want to brainstorm.— Sydney Littlejohn Watkins (@Slittlejohn28) March 12, 2020
Alabama’s rowing coach:
This has been a unprecedented 36 hours - I hurt for every athlete that woke up looking forward to a championship only to find out before the sun set it was all over.— Glenn Putyrae (@RowTideCoachP) March 12, 2020
Last, Texas Tech’s golf coach weighed in with a point that we all wondered about.
Love for the @NCAA to come look in the eyes of my players right now. You have ripped the heart and soul out of these guys! Why are you cancelling season so prematurely? Can we suspend the season 2-4 weeks and see what happens? We play an outside sport with little spectators!— Greg Sands (@Sandsman14) March 12, 2020
While decisive action was warranted, canceling championship events that are scheduled for two to three months from now seems like an overreaction. It may well be that competition could have started back up sometime in April, with abbreviated regular season schedules followed by the championships.
That’s all water under the bridge at this point. To all of the seniors, we too are sorry that you won’t get to play your final seasons. Hopefully you enjoyed your time as a student athlete, and may the experience pay dividends for you in the future. From the fan’s perspective, thank you for putting in the work to entertain us. Sports provide a needed distraction for many from the realities of everyday living, and you are an inspiration to so many young people in the state. You may have been denied a season of eligibility, but no one can take your accomplishments.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.