What athletes are doing without sports

Noah Schlekeway, Staff Writer

It’s a Friday morning and you’re waking up. You go to make some breakfast and you start to think that it’s gamedayBut, the reality of 2020 proves it isn’t gameday. That is the life of any Wayne State College athlete this fall season. Instead, all athletes are trainingpreparing and hoping for a second semester season.  

On Aug 13, Wayne State athletes received bad news that a fall season wasn’t going to happen. The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, NSIC, decided to cancel all fall sports competitions and championships. This not only affected fall sport athletes, it also affected all the winter athletes because competition has been delayed until Dec 31, 2020. According to the NSIC website, Commissioner Erin Lind said that the decision was made to help campuses control the spread of COVID-19. 

“The league’s initial decision to delay the start of fall sports was made with the rationale to allow campuses the ability to focus solely on reopening safely for their broader university communities,” Lind said. “In light of the recent decisions made by the NCAA Board of Governors, it is no longer feasible to conduct outside competition this fall semester. Our student-athletes deserve a competitive experience that provides a greater degree of safety and certainty than current conditions would allow. We believe now is the right time to provide clarity to our student-athletes so we can turn our efforts towards helping institutions reopen and ensuring a safe return to campus to start the academic year.” 

Wayne State athletes were disappointed by the decision that was made.  Especially any seniors that were supposed to compete for the final time as a Wildcat athlete. This was true for Wayne State football player Kalei Aukai who spent last season injured and was looking forward to playing this season. 

“It’s honestly really weird and strange to not be playing this fall season,” Aukai said. It’s weird to practice all week and then have Saturday’s off when you see others getting to play. It’s kind of frustrating in a way.”  

It was also weird for Wayne State cross country runner, Molly McCartney. Not being able to run competitively this season has been difficult, especially seeing others compete,” McCartney said. “However, as a team, we are staying positive and optimistic about competing as soon as possible. 

For athletes, practicing with COVID-19 has also been very different and interesting. “Luckily, we have been able to practice outdoors and we have had the space to social distance while also working together as a team,” McCartney said. When we have been indoors, we mask up and social distance as much as possible. It is a different process than we were used to, but we have adjusted and have made it work the best we can. It may be a different time, but as a team we have pushed through together. 

For most Wayne State athletes, the hardest thing is the differences that have happened between last season and now. However, they are able to push through it as a team. For football though, it has been very different. 

“It’s tough, we have to get screened in the morning, we have to then wear a mask in the locker room,” Aukai said. In practice we have a shield over our helmet, and we have a mask on. So, it’s different than what it used to be.”   

The one thing that seemed to be common for most Wayne State athletes is they don’t regret not having a season right now. They have been able to grow as a team and academicallyI would say that I have had more time on my hands than I did before to work on schoolwork, but I do miss competing,” McCartney said. Staying positive has been the key as we wait for another season. They may miss competing but if they stay positive like they have been, they should be able to hopefully have a season.  

The NCAA announced that all fall athletes would get another year of eligibility. Even if they would have a fall season, all fall athletes would have an extra year of eligibility to be able to compete in the next fall season. “I think the extra year of eligibility for seniors is an awesome idea, it gives senior athletes a chance to compete one last time if they choose to do so,” McCartney said.  

Hopefully all athletes will be able to have a season in the spring semester spring.  No matter what sport they play, all of these athletes are hoping for a chance to compete again for Wayne State.