Spike in COVID-19 cases postpones athletics to Spring semester

As COVID-19 cases have risen quickly in the past few weeks, the Baldwin Wallace Athletic Department has postponed all sports practices and plans to reschedule for the Spring semester.

Due to the concern of the spread of COVID-19 on campus, BW athletics are taking further safety precautions for students, especially student-athletes, by putting a hold on all Fall sports and restricting team practices while trying to keep the athletes motivated.

John Snell, Class of ‘87, is the interim athletic director and former head football coach at BW. He gave mention to some of the changes that BW sports teams have recently undergone due to the pandemic. Beginning the fall semester, all teams were required to organize the athletes into smaller ‘pods’ for their workouts to follow safety precautions.

“Fortunately, due to the pods, we didn’t have any positives that caused the entire team to stop practices up until now. However, we have decided to stop all athletic activities for all of our teams in groups for the rest of the semester,” said Snell. As more restrictions are being placed, the athletes are only allowed to work out individually to prepare for the spring.

While the athletic teams have not experienced  their typical seasons, the department is using this time to ensure that the coaches spend time with their athletes not only for athletic activities, but also to encourage leadership among them. They have instilled leadership programs with guest speakers to educate the student athletes in other areas as well, such as social injustice, voter engagement, and resilience.

Aside from the on-field teamwork the athletes practice, Snell also mentioned the activities they participate in outside of their respective sports to “develop them in other aspects of life.”

“It’s part of our mission as coaches to develop them in more than just the sport. We strive for leadership, personal, and academic development from our athletes,” said Snell.

Student-athletes have partaken in community service experiences such as helping at the Cleveland Food Bank, raking leaves for local families, and participating in on-campus leadership activities. They have also been encouraged to engage in the BW community outside of their sports, while also following health protocols.

“As an institution, I think we have done as well as we possibly can to provide a safe environment. In the athletics, we have taken all precautions and protocols to be as safe as we possibly can for our athletes,” said Snell.

By following all of the newly placed regulations, the coaches and staff hope to return to a healthy campus and prepare the athletes for their postponed seasons.

“Our intention is to have all of our teams playing next semester,” he said. “We are in the process of trying to figure out all of the plans and make this a reality for our athletes, and even though it won’t be a full season, we plan to at least have a reduced season.”

As of now, the Ohio Athletic Conference plan for the spring semester is for all athletics to begin on the weekend of March 12, 2021.

To read more on BW athletics, follow @bwathletics on Twitter for updates on the upcoming season.