Cancellations cut spring athletes’ seasons, careers, short

Katia Faroun | Associate Photo Editor / Arthur J. Rooney Field will sit empty for the remainder of the school year after cancellations.

David Borne | Sports Editor

March 19, 2020

On March 11, senior Rilee Bradshaw and her Duquesne lacrosse teammates walked off of Rooney Field after posting a 25-2 win over Akron.

Just a day later, the Atlantic 10 announced that all remaining spring sports competitions and championships would be canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

“Never would I have ever thought that game would’ve been the last time my fellow seniors and I stepped on the field, so it’s just heartbreaking,” Bradshaw said. “If you look at all the hard work and time we each put in, not only this past fall in the off-season but in our entire career, for it to end so abruptly is really sad.”

“I will say, I understand that these measures are being taken in hopes to help our current situation and try to prevent it from getting worse, so I do see why the Atlantic 10 conference and the NCAA took action,” she added.

Along with women’s lacrosse, women’s rowing, men’s and women’s track and field, and men’s and women’s tennis were among the group of spring teams that were impacted by the decision.

While the majority of that group had already started their 2020 campaigns, the track and field teams were set to begin their outdoor season on March 28.

Shannon Taub, a graduate student and member of the women’s track and field squad, learned of the cancellation from a text message from her coaches.

“I had a feeling it was coming once I heard other big conferences and professional sports were being cancelled and suspended,” Taub said. “At first I didn’t really know what to think. I was heartbroken. I finally felt like I was ready to have that breakout season I was waiting for and end my career on a high note. For that to be taken away was just devastating.”

Recent developments by the NCAA would suggest that seniors who participate in spring sports may be granted an additional year of eligibility. But, the NCAA still has to decide how exactly the process would work. Scholarship limits and roster size headline the list of potential roadblocks for the exception to be made.

“Details of eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time,” the NCAA said in a statement. “Additional issues with NCAA rules must be addressed, and appropriate governance bodies will work through those in the coming days and weeks.”

Women’s lacrosse head coach, Corinne Desrosiers, agreed that the seniors should have a chance to return.

Desrosiers is intrigued to see how the ruling would impact operating budgets, scholarship limits and the ripple effect it would have on upcoming recruiting classes.

“If the NCAA grants a redshirt/extra year back, that would be wonderful for the student-athletes,” Desrosiers said. “I personally think it is the right thing to do. Not everyone will take it, but some will, and then they get to leave the sport on their own terms.”

Like her head coach, Bradshaw supports the NCAA’s decision. She mentioned that she would definitely consider the possibility of returning for a final season. That will depend on the details from the NCAA’s official ruling, but is glad to see that there is a chance of playing again.

“It is nice to know that there is still hope for us to be able to finish out our lacrosse career rightfully,” Bradshaw said.

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