Last week, in suspending all spring sports activities for SEC member schools until mid April, the conference office left open the possibility of resuming sports like baseball and softball if the situation with the coronavirus improved by that time. On Tuesday the chances of that happening went to zero with the announcement that all athletics for the remainder of the 2020 spring semester have been permanently cancelled.
University of Arkansas director of athletics Hunter Yurachek indicated last Friday that restarting the various spring sports sometime after mid April was going to be very difficult. Perhaps he already knew at that time that this decision was going to be made. It appears likely that the various conference ADs and coaches wanted plenty of time to fully address the decision and its impact on their athletes before the announcement was made public.
Schools with a new head coach and a new staff of assistant coaches will be particularly hard hit by a complete absence spring football. Even though there will be no spring football games this academic year it’s not clear at this point if there remains a possibility of spring football-type workouts at some point before teams begin their preseason preparations next August.
Yurachek indicated the possibility of some relief being given to schools that had their spring football work wiped out entirely. Such relief could come in the early summer months or possibly by adding extra time to the traditional August camp period. No mention of any of this was made in today’s announcements by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey or Yurachek.
With today’s announcement the collegiate careers of draft eligible players like Razorback baseball player Heston Kjerstad will likely come to an end. However the NCAA has indicated that an extra year of eligibility will be granted to athletes whose seasons were canceled if they chose to return. The official statement was as follows: “Council leadership agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes who participated in spring sports.”
Yuracheck went on Twitter to explain the decision to cancel all spring sports.
Also on Twitter the Razorbacks’ batting coach offered this emotional reaction.
How many of these seniors will return for the 2021 softball season?
Arkansas football receiver Trey Knox asks the all important question.