Shepherdstown, W.Va., – As the spring semester is wrapping up after what has seemed like years, that means sports are too. Everything coming to a close for the spring leaves a big question. So what happens to athletics when we return for the fall?
For athletes, this is a question they still do not have an answer to, Chauncey Winbush, the Vice President for athletics at Shepherd said, “We quite honestly haven’t had much discussion about the upcoming fall as our focus continues to be on navigating COVID-19 this Spring. I am cautiously optimistic that we will be full steam ahead in the fall, but a lot will depend on how our country progresses with COVID locally, regionally and nationally.”
Shepherd has had tennis, softball, lacrosse and baseball playing as it is their competition season along with women’s and men’s golf. These seasons were cut a tad shorter, facing opponents only in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) and usually playing them back to back to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Winbush said that as of right now, it is too soon to predict what the protocols for fall competition may be. He said, “As long as we are able to compete, we will support whatever protocols are required by the board of directors of both the PSAC and NCAA.”
Sports seasons will be planned around the normal number of contests next fall, “at least until the NCAA makes a decision that affects the number of contests like during this spring semester,” said Winbush.
Winbush also noted that Shepherd does have a date for a homecoming football game, but it will not be released just yet.
With so many adjustments made to be able to compete you may have forgotten that this is only Shepherd’s second year competing in the PSAC.
The University has already introduced women’s golf alongside a women’s and men’s cross country team who were able to compete beginning fall 2020.
Most schools in the PSAC have many more teams that compete than Shepherd and the goal was to introduce more but Winbush said the pandemic has set the University back a few years.
In a meeting with the Board of Governors, Winbush presented a plan to introduce men’s and women’s swimming, acrobatics and tumbling, and men’s lacrosse over the course of the next few years.
Even though the pandemic has affected this plan Winbush hopes to “support the university with enhanced enrollment numbers through sport sponsorship within our department.”