Eastern athletic community reacts to OVC suspension

Dillan Schorfheide, Sports Editor

Shortly after the OVC announced Thursday that it would be suspending all athletic-related activities, including competitions and formal practices, Eastern athletes voiced their opinions about the decision.

Senior Maggie Runge, who played for Eastern’s volleyball team all four years at Eastern, said she feels that suspending everything was too much.

“From my understanding, our age group is one of the least susceptible, and severity would be at its lowest, so it doesn’t make sense to cancel everything,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that older people and those with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk to become very sick from COVID-19, based on information from cases in China.

Even though Runge is not affected by the suspension of athletic activities, she said she could sympathize with those athletes who will not be able to compete for the foreseeable future.

“I feel bad for those that are stripped of their season, especially the seniors,” she said. “They’ve worked all year for their last season, and it’s just gone.”

Runge’s sentiment is one other Eastern athletes shared on social media.

Tarron Lawson, a sophomore catcher and outfielder for Eastern’s baseball team, tweeted, “Y’all jumped ship too quick with this one. I feel for my seniors so much (right now).”

One such senior on the baseball team, Keith Kerrigan, tweeted his feelings about the suspension.

“I don’t think there has been a sadder day for me when my baseball team and I found out our season is getting canceled,” Kerrigan said. “Even if we somehow get another year of eligibility, some of us as seniors won’t be able to come back due to job offerings and such. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.”

The Eastern volleyball Twitter account tweeted a video of players dancing and sharing moments together with the caption “Within these tough times affecting us globally, we still want to wish everyone a happy spring break.”

Tara Archibald, the head coach of Eastern’s softball program, also took to Twitter to share her opinion: “Today was heartbreaking. There’s no other words. Love my team.”

Jonathan Burke, a redshirt junior goalkeeper for the Eastern men’s soccer team, said the whole situation is complex.

“I think a lot of what is going on right now is beyond us, and a lot of the team understands that,” Burke said.

He added that the men’s soccer team is unable to practice for the week after spring break.

“It’s unfortunate for now, especially for international guys who could have went home, but with the ban, they cannot,” Burke said.

As far as how things have been handled, Burke said despite the chaos of everything, authority figures have done well.

“I mean everyone is sort of scrambled with all the information coming in,” he said. “I think it is important right now to really listen to people and authorities when talking about the virus. I do believe that everyone in charge has been doing a good job so far of keeping everyone safe.”

The OVC announced the suspension of athletic-related activities late in the afternoon, after Eastern announced Thursday at noon that it would move classes to an online format after spring break, as well as another week will be added to spring break.

The suspension of activities is the latest such decision after the NCAA announced Thursday it canceled both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, as well as other spring and winter sport championships. Other Division I conferences canceled their respective conference basketball championships.


Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]