On Thursday, March 12, APSU president Alisa White released an update on the coronavirus in relation to the university. In the statement, White extended students’ spring break for an additional week, while implementing online courses for the remainder of the semester.
Two hours later, APSU athletic director Gerald Harrison released a statement in regards to the continuation of sports on campus.
“We recognize the concerns regarding the coronavirus and are closely monitoring the situation along with our campus partners, university experts, the Ohio Valley Conference and the NCAA,” Harrison said.
In the statement, Harrison announced an immediate and indefinite suspension of “any sport not participating in their championship season…”
The suspension includes a prohibition on all international travel, off-campus recruiting, practices, as well as official and unofficial visits to campus until further notice.
Harrison continued in saying “We have begun enacting policies and procedures to handle the current situation as it stands and are preparing for any escalation.”
The suspension of spring athletics comes in the wake of the emerging severity of the outbreak over the past few days. On March 11, two members of the National Basketball Association’s Utah Jazz were confirmed with cases of COVID-19.
The NBA and its affiliates have since suspended their season, following suit was Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League. The NCAA was the most recent to cancel all remaining winter and spring championships.
APSU is not the first school to indefinitely limit athletic affiliation, as Kansas has prohibited any athletic travel. Duke and San Diego State University have also suspended all athletic activities.
In alignment with the NCAA, APSU has implemented a policy enforcing no spectators entry at any indoor competition. This policy comes in to effect immediately and indefinitely.
The sports affected by this are the soccer, football and tennis teams. The women’s soccer team had two exhibitions to be held in the coming weeks, both of which have now been canceled.
While both tennis teams now have the opportunity to play on their outdoor courts in hopes for spectators, a majority of the tennis team consists of foreign players. International travel and off-campus recruiting are essential in regards to recruitment for next year’s class.
In addition, the Governors’ spring football game will no longer be held. Mark Hudspeth’s team had held spring practices and workouts over the past few weeks, but will be for naught as all future practices have been shut down.
Since the release of Harrison’s statement, the Ohio Valley Conference has suspended all athletic-related activities, including all competition, until further notice due to the coronavirus. The sports previously listed in this article that were claimed to continue per usual have since been shut down for an indefinite period of time. All recruiting based activities have also been suspended until April 3, where the affect of the virus undergo further evaluated.