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The life of a college athlete in the era of COVID-19

COVID-19 has struck the world in an immeasurable amount of ways, but not to be forgotten, has left college athletes around the country wondering what comes next. On March 12, NCAA President Mark Emmert sent ripples through the sports world, when the decision to cancel all remaining winter and spring championships was announced. 

This decision had a deeper impact on the college athletic landscape than many would have expected however. Not even considering the potential revenue lost, the logistics regarding senior eligibility, scholarships and medical treatment many athletes receive through their colleges seemed to have been overlooked.

With the addition of distance learning, many colleges have had to make difficult decisions regarding the employment of their athletic staff. In an email sent out from the director of intercollegiate athletics at the New York Institute of Technology, it is detailed that in order to “weather the current crisis” they would be furloughing certain staff, which includes their entire coaching staff.

While the loss of employment is a sad reality in any scenario, it can be doubly impactful when it comes to college coaches. Many athletes look up to their coaches, seek them out for advice and encouragement and simply rely on them in general, but with the furloughing, they are not permitted to keep in contact with them.

“It’s been tough for sure,” said Cameron Rossi, a junior on the men’s lacrosse team at NYIT. “I’ve just been trying to keep up with online classes and rest my body as much as I can, but I’ll admit not having my coach keeping up with me all the time has been a shock almost,” said Rossi.

As for how he has been trying to stay in shape, Rossi spoke on just how difficult it can be going from a fully stocked college gym to his newly created basement workouts. 

“I’m trying to work out as much as I can, stay ready just in case ya know, but with the materials I now have at my disposal it’s definitely not the most effective program,” said Rossi.

This is not a unique experience, as college athletes across the country are facing the same challenges that Rossi continues to find himself in. As the NCAA was forced to end the seasons of thousands of athletes in an instant, it seems as though they did dwell on the toll it would take on the athletes themselves.

As the presence of COVID-19 continues to cancel sporting events deeper and deeper into the year, no one can truly say when college sports will come back, and how they will look when they do. With the possibility of no fans for an extended period remaining likely,  even student athletes do not know what they will be coming back to. But until that moment comes, student athletes seem as if they will be focusing much more on the student half…while still getting their pushups in.

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