By Jay Simon; The Whetstone
Senior soccer player Emily Caldarelli thinks it is great that athletes who will miss a season due to COVID-19 restrictions will be able to come back when sports resume at Wesley.
“A lot of student-athletes are going to love that they will be able to get their season back since we are missing it,” she said. “Since I am a senior, I don’t believe that I will choose to stay and play the year I lost since I graduate in the spring.”
Caldarelli’s senior dilemma is not unique this fall season. She is one of many affected by Wesley’s decision – following the NCAA and other colleges – to postpone fall sports this year. Like many others, she also is adjusting to a new set of rules on campus, which has modified itself to the worldwide pandemic. And, like many other fellow students, staff and faculty, she is worrying about what the coming merger with Delaware State University will mean for student-athletes next year.
The NCAA decided to postpone all fall sports athletics until at least until the spring 2021 semester. Wesley’s fall sports, which include football, soccer and field hockey, may keep practicing outside. But practice outside also has limitations.
Some of the limitations include only groups of 10 at practices, including coaches. Practices are limited to one practice on the field and one off-site conditioning practice. The times will be spaced out for a team to leave and the next team to enter.
Every athlete has been given a water bottle with his or her name on it and are only allowed to use that particular water bottle. ( https://protect.wesley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Final-COVID-Policy-1.pdf; http://www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/resocialization-collegiate-sport-action-plan-considerations)
Indoor fall sports, such as volleyball, have similar limitations.
Senior volleyball player Emily Waldridge said she is still getting used to how practices have changed.
“We we’re originally going to practice outdoors but because of the differences between outdoor volleyball and indoor, it was impossible,” she said. “Volleyball is a very close sport, you usually aren’t that far from the person next to you, so having to be six feet apart is odd.”
Waldridge said they don’t have “real practices.”
“We are conditioning while being six feet apart, which puts a damper on the team bond we’re supposed to be building,” she said.
Athletic Director Tracey Short said it was best to move fall sports while allowing students to come back in the fall to get accustomed to the new rules and gradually work back on to the field.
“Our plan for fall practices, as well as winter/spring teams practicing, is to move slowly through the new rules and maintain student-athletes health and safety,” Short said. “The NCAA gave guidance on “Resocialization of sports,” and we are hopeful to minimize outbreaks and help the campus to stay healthy.” (http://www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/core-principles-resocialization-collegiate-sport)
The NCAA broke into three phases a list of core principles for sports.
As with all people at Wesley, every student and athlete must complete a daily COVID-19-Pass on MyWesley, which asks six questions to make sure no one is feeling any of the
symptoms of COVID. Every athlete must complete this test or he or she will not be able to participate in any sporting events that day.
Short also said athletes who missed their season will be able to come back for another athletic year.
“If your team does not play more than 50% of the maximum allowable contests, each athlete will get their year (two semesters and a season of eligibility) to play at another time,” she said. “This allows teams to practice and compete some but to also be able to play a full year if they would like that opportunity.”
Senior volleyball player Emily Waldridge said she appreciates the school adding an extra year of eligibility.
“I’m a senior and I’m graduating in the spring,” she said. “It’s not financially favorable for me to come back for one semester to play. It’s not really worth it for me, but others who are able to do it, it’s great for them.”
DSU’s acquisition of Wesley College over the summer has caused many students to worry about what the future of Wesley sports.
Short said that the plan for Wesley athletics is to remain D3.
“Our athletic programs are focused on being the best we can this year and in the years to come as part of the DSU system,” she said. “Wesley has a proud tradition with our athletic programs of being successful in our conferences as well as regionally and nationally. As their D-III affiliate, we believe we can have even more success in the future.” https://delawarestatenews.net/sport/wesley-plans-to-keep-athletics/
Junior Lacrosse player Dylan Sicca said he was worried about what might come in the future.
“I only have one more year left after this one, if I choose not to come back and play the year we missed,” he said. “DSU is a big school and if we merge our sports then everything will change. Wesley College sports has its own name, and I would like to keep it like that.”