In the midst of the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, Florida Tech has canceled spring sports and the remainder of winter sports for the rest of the semester. On March 13, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced that spring student-athletes would be able to receive an extra year of eligibility.
Despite spring student-athletes being granted another year of eligibility, on Mar. 30, the NCAA announced that they will not allow an extra year of eligibility for winter sports athletes.
With the spring sports seasons being cut short in March, and two more months of the regular season to play, there were no playoffs or national champions for any spring student-athlete at Florida Tech. For some seniors, their last season was cut short.
“With athletes having an extra year of eligibility, rosters have a possibility of being larger next season,” said Vincenzo Catanza, a fifth-year senior on the baseball team majoring in electrical engineering. “It sets a weird situation because you recruited a freshman class and transfers coming in to replace the seniors,” Catanza said. “Now the seniors have a chance to come back.”
Catanza shared his frustration about the cancellation of the season saying, “I had a feeling it was going to be canceled seeing other schools and conferences postponing or canceling their season,” he said.
Catanza also brought up how much of an honor it was to be a part of the Florida Tech family and be able to play the sport he loved with his closest friends.
“I had to take the positives out of what could have been a very negative situation, Catanza said. “All those tears were not because baseball was leaving.”
The outfielder also added that his sadness from the spring sports cancellation stemmed from him no longer being able to play and have his friends and family watch from the stands.
“I couldn’t put on the jersey that I thought I represented well, and wanted to represent well,” Catanza said.
With Catanza being a fifth-year senior, he has the option to come back next year or to begin a new chapter in his life. He shares his thoughts on where he is with his decision stating, “I definitely consider coming back, but I am very fortunate for the fact I also have a job offer.”
At this point in time, Catanza said he is still not sure if he will use his year of eligibility. “I have a tough decision ahead,” he added.
According to ESPN, concerns regarding the Coronavirus have also led to the cancellation of sports beyond the collegiate level. Such cancellations include March Madness and suspensions of the professional sports leagues, including the NBA, MLB, and even the Olympics that were set to take place this summer.
“I think it is necessary since health and safety comes first,” said Harry Craik, a senior basketball player majoring in civil engineering.
“By removing sports, it disrupts the community behind it,” Craik said.
He added that sports provide a huge amount of jobs for people, and now it impacts so many people since no sporting events are being held.
The end of the winter sports season, including playoffs for basketball, was also canceled due to the Coronavirus.
Florida Tech’s men’s basketball team did not make the playoffs, so their season was not cut short.
“I think this is really unfortunate since spring athletes worked so hard all year to get to the tournament and their chance to prove themselves was taken,” Craik said.