The Patriot League made the difficult — but correct — decision this week to suspend the fall sports season for its members, including Bucknell University.
It’s a decision that carries a full dose of disappointment and heartbreak for student athletes, but in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, the health and safety of every single student, coach, assistant and support staff member — as well as all of their families — is the highest priority.
The Patriot League — which supports 24 sports at 10 full member and four associate member universities — announced Monday that its teams — with the exception of Army or Navy — will not engage in intercollegiate competition during the fall.
There is the possibility that fall sports will be played in the spring and decisions on winter and spring sports have not yet been made.
“For all of us — presidents, ADs (athletic directors) coaches and student-athletes — we’re heartbroken and disappointed,” Bucknell Director of Athletics and Recreation Jermaine Truax said following Monday’s announcement. “I’m supportive of the decision, It’s the right thing to do until we know more.”
Bucknell volleyball coach Tyler Hagstrom, said he also was expecting the worst.
“It’s disappointing, but understandable,” he said. “We’re thinking about safety as much as possible. We hope to have some sort of season in the spring, so we’re trying to stay positive.”
Patriot League Commissioner Jennifer Heppel said the decision did not come easily.
“Really, really tough decision,” she said. “Nobody’s happy. Happy is a word that’s kind of gone out the window.”
League officials, coaches and administrators may not be happy, but they can take comfort in knowing that they made a wise and responsible decision in the face of uncertain conditions in the weeks and months ahead.
They also should remember that they are not alone. They join legions of leaders who have or may have to make similar heartbreaking decisions to shut down schools and cancel or postpone student musical performances, graduation ceremonies, high school proms and similar once-in-a-lifetime events.
We are all in this together, and we will get through it.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.