FAMU athletics adjusts to new normal

Legendary FAMU softball coach Veronica Wiggins is scheduled to retire at the end of a season cut way too short. Photo courtesy FAMU athletics

The cancellation of all spring intercollegiate sporting events has affected student-athletes at Florida A&M as well as the university’s athletic department.

“COVID-19 not only affected our strategic plan,” FAMU Athletic Director Kortne Gosha told The Famuan. “It changed the plan and the way that college athletics operates.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic all sports for the spring semester we’re canceled. All professional sports as well as he 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have also been suspended.

Athletic officials have been forced to take action even without knowing when the coronavirus pandemic will be conquered.

“At this point COVID-19 has rocked the foundations of athletics,” Gosha said, “and we don’t fully know all of the effects just yet.”

Many student-athletes said they are saddened by the news that due to the global pandemic their season had to be cut short. They said they regret that they are not able to play.

“It’s a very unfortunate situation, the work that coaches and players put in preseason may have an empty feeling because the season was unable to be played,” said Jasmine Ballview, a guard for the FAMU women’s basketball team. “All the sweat, body aches, injuries, early mornings and late nights, weren’t able to be put on display in this spring season.”

Gosha expressed those same sentiments. “I am truly heartbroken for all of our student-athletes and especially our seniors,” he said. “All of our student-athletes work really hard in the classroom, practicing and conditioning for the opportunity to compete.”

He also highlighted the actions that athletics has taken in response to the virus.

  1. Follow the university’s plan to participate in online instruction
  2. Working with the university to support student-athletes that are still in Tallahassee and those who have returned home
  3. Ramped up social media and external engagement
  4. Promote social distancing and helping to flatten the virus’curve

This was supposed to be the final season for Hall of Fame softball head coach Veronica Wiggins. Seriah Brokenborough, an infielder for the softball team expressed her disappointment with not being able to see her coach go out on a high note.

“This was also coach Wiggins’ last season on the field,” Brokenborough said, “so it was truly disappointing to not be able to send her out with a bang like we wanted to.”

One positive that Gosha advertised is that the NCAA decided to distribute $225 million in June to all Division 1 schools to focus on helping student-athletes. The D1 council also gave a blanket waiver for spring athletes to give them an extra year of eligibility. He also added that the school is planning for athletics to open with a normal fall  schedule, but is monitoring to see if any changes will be made.