Football Season Postponement Causes New Challenges to Arise

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Nicole Littlefield, Managing Editor

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As the new semester begins, the COD campus remains closed to most students and faculty continues to teach remotely. The athletic director, Ryan Kaiser, made the decision to postpone all high-risk sports until spring semester. 

“After a tremendous amount of deliberation and study as well as with the health of student-athletes and coaches as the college’s highest priority, we hope to compete in the 2020-21 academic year,” Kaiser said. Our continued goal is to support and keep our student-athletes engaged through the fall 2020 semester.” 

Men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball along with football are the high-risk sports that have been postponed. Low-risk sports (golf and cross country) and medium-risk (track and field, baseball, softball, and tennis) will still have their seasons. 

Although these changes were made to keep students safe from contracting the virus, student-athletes are facing new challenges caused by the postponing of their athletic season. This fall was supposed to be the last season for many of the out-of-state football players on the team.

“We had a whole bunch of Michigan and St. Louis guys on the team,” running back for COD’s football team, Isaiah Nwokenkwo, said. “This semester was supposed to be their last semester, and now they don’t know what to do, and they don’t want to stay at COD for a third year, but they have to.”

Many football players rely on athletic scholarships and recruiters from four-year universities watching them play during the fall season. The postponing of the season has caused many uncertainties for all of the football players. 

“It [the COVID-19 pandemic] just messed up everything,” said Nwokenkwo. “I can’t even get into full contact. I couldn’t show my skills ‘cause they shut down everything else. I’m scattered right now. I’m trying to get back on my feet to figure out how I’m going to do this.”

In an effort to keep morale high and to prepare for the upcoming season, the football coaches are hosting a weight training program. Although the campus remains closed for most COD students and staff, the coaches are using the Physical Education Center for the program. To prevent the spread of the virus, the fitness center staff cleans every touched weight and participating football players are split into small groups. However, with classes remaining online, out of district team members aren’t participating in the voluntary weight training program because they aren’t on campus. The out of district team members are worried they won’t be getting the proper training needed to compete in the upcoming season.

Nwokenkwo said, “If we play in the spring and then we have another season in the fall, they don’t have much time to recover at all.” 

With the coronavirus still causing deaths across the nation, there are many unknowns for the future of the football team and their upcoming season. College of DuPage officials have not yet expressed any concrete plans for the spring.