By Laura Blanco
In December 2021, sports were once again rattled by the coronavirus pandemic. Professional leagues such as the NBA, NFL, NHL, and Premier League of soccer were forced to postpone games and pause their season due to the rise of the Omicron variant.
Eleven NBA games, three NFL games, fifty NHL games, and ninty-three Premier League games were either postponed or canceled during December 2021. When this happened, many feared we had returned to March 2020 when sports were one of the first things to shut down. Thankfully, because of high vaccination rates, greater access to testing, and mask usage, national leagues have been able to bounce back.
At Barry, five games so far have been canceled, three men’s basketball and two women’s basketball.
According to departmental sources, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has guidelines for testing, quarantine, and isolation. Barry is part of the NCAA Division II Sunshine State Conference (SSC) and they have chosen to follow them.
“Aside from that, each member institution has guidance from the local board of health, and we follow the guidance of the home team school, assuming it is not less than ours. In that case, we would do more to stay current with our policy. Furthermore, Barry University athletics, in cooperation with the university’s health care task force and local governing bodies, hold [a] weekly meeting to examine [the] current state of COVID and adjust the measures in place,” said the Athletic department in a statement.
Barry does have additional protocols in place to protect their student-athletes.
These include “surveillance testing, cleaning, social distancing, encouraging mask usage, extended contact tracing, [and] limited indoor space usage.”
Barry has a 90 percent student-athlete vaccination percentage.
Senior criminal justice major Carly Logan is part of the rowing team and president of Barry’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She recalled how her Spring 2020 season was completely canceled and her team did not have their full schedule or team during Fall 2020 or Spring 2021.
“This season, 2022, we plan to race a 'normal' racing season,” said Logan.
“I think some of the protocols are a bit interesting. For example, last year, my team had to wear a mask in the vans to our boathouse and when we traveled, but most of us didn’t have to wear a mask in the boat, just the coxswain and stroke seat. They masked up,” explained Logan.
Kim Moosbacher, senior tennis athlete working on her master’s in sports management, said at the start of the pandemic, the team had fewer matches and could not travel out-of-state.
“However, now it feels like it is back to normal, and our schedule is very busy again,” she said.
Barry’s protocols made sense to Moosbacher, too.
“I think Barry handled COVID well. At the start, we had stricter rules, which was completely understandable. Now, the rules are not too strict anymore which is a good thing, in my point of view, since we need to try to get back to everyday life as best as we can,” she said.
All in all, sports have been able to move forward because of all these protocols in place. As the spring sports commence, many athletes hope things will get better and they can continue competing in their sports.