Every sporting association in the world has postponed events or cancelled them altogether for the spring and early summer. Every student in the country is now completing the academic year by some form of distance/online learning.
Pressures at home for many families are building, or they are hopefully bonding more than ever before. So many things we take for granted have changed. I am hopeful that life, as we knew it a few short weeks ago, will return quickly. I suspect that we may soon have a brand new normal.
Greeting people by handshake may become a thing of the past. The traditional Japanese bow may very well become a worldwide means of greeting another person. I have no idea how society will react to the impact that the coronavirus pandemic leaves behind, but it will certainly leave a scar.
In the cancellation of spring collegiate sports at the junior college level, I am delighted that the National Junior College Athletic Association has waived this year of competition and will grant one more year to all of the junior college student-athletes. This will be a tremendous opportunity for our present student-athletes but may pose a problem to present high school juniors.
I have three sophomores on my CACC Trojan Golf Team. Dylan Moncus, from Alexander City, will transfer to Samford University next fall; and rather than only having two years of eligibility available, Dylan will now have three. This means that Dylan may be able to begin work on his Masters Degree while still active on the Samford Golf Team.
A similar situation exists for my red-shirt freshman Jack Goldasich who will transfer to the University of Alabama. Jack only played collegiate sports for me for this one year. This will mean that Jack will have four years of eligibility at UA.
My other sophomore is Andrew Friend, who will transfer and play golf for Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham next year.
The NCAA has followed the NJCAA lead in offering the spring sport student-athletes another year of eligibility. At presstime for this magazine, both NCAA and the NJCAA were in talks in regard to enlarging the number of scholarships that may be available for these spring sport athletes. For NAIA, NJCAA and NCAA D-2 athletic programs, there are no considerations given to financially assist schools for additional scholarship student-athletes. This could be an interesting test for everyone involved.
This situation should work out well for many of the student-athletes receiving this additional year of eligibility. Seniors will now have the options of returning to their universities; turning professional in the sport; or joining the working world. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors will have an additional year of eligibility in which to grow and improve in their chosen sports, as well. Many of these student-athletes could use this additional year to work on post-graduate classes or reduce the number of hours they had earlier planned to take each semester or quarter to graduate; who knows – grades could improve.
I just read that the Ivy League universities have chosen not to extend this additional year to their seniors, as they believe that college athletics should be a post-graduate activity.
A very questionable situation with this additional year for the college athletes could create issues and problems in other areas. Among the questions it creates are: Will there be room for the present high school junior student-athletes at the collegiate level upon their graduation? Will colleges and universities have adequate funds to offer to these additional student-athletes after this pandemic beats the daylights out of our economy?
The NCAA has permitted institutions to allow for the senior student-athlete to return to collegiate athletics for an additional year, but the institutions they represent will have the option of renewing scholarships, awarding student-athletes portions of their scholarships or offering them no financial assistance whatsoever. It will be an interesting dynamic as the year progresses. Some universities and colleges could take the additional cost without issue; whereas, others might be in different financial situations.
On the lighter side, the Golf Coaches Association determined that it would offer the annual awards for this shortened year. Each association will recognize its outstanding student-athletes.
For CACC Trojan Golf in District-4 of NJCAA Division-1, four players have been recognized as All-District Athletes. Jack Goldasich, Dylan Moncus, Keith Watkins and Jarod Edwards are four of the 10 selected for this honor within District-4. Your friendly neighborhood college golf coach (that’s me!) was selected as District-4 Coach of the Year. These four golfers and I will be in consideration for All-American status by that committee later this month.
During these uncertain times, I feel confident that the United States will endure this tragedy. Our economy will return. We will survive. Sports also will return. God is love, and He has a plan. We will all be blessed to watch Him work and receive His Grace. God bless us all.
~ Dave Jennings in the men's golf coach at Central Alabama Community College.