By Jake Henning
The ASUN conference announced today the postponement of all fall sports and has been working to set a comprehensive schedule for the spring. This is in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and will affect FGCU’s soccer, volleyball, and cross country teams.
In addition to all fall sports being postponed, the ASUN President’s council also decided that they would be cancelling the intercollegiate competitions for both the tennis and golf programs.
“These decisions do not come lightly, however, our No. 1 priority as a conference and as an institution has been, and will always be, the well-being of our student-athletes,” said Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh. “Certainly we have been doing everything within our power here at FGCU to make sure our student-athletes had a chance to compete this fall in a manner that put safety and their well-being first.
The coaches for the fall programs spoke on the postponement today, each giving praise to their players and optimism about the future of the program.
“Today’s news is never easy to receive and then deliver to our group of student-athletes who have worked so diligently to prepare for the season,” said mens and womens cross-country head coach Cassandra Gordon. “We continue to be optimistic for our next chance to compete and our staff will continue working with our student-athletes to support them and help them maintain their well-being.”
“As a coach, your first priority is the health and safety of your student-athletes,” says head men’s soccer coach Jesse Cormier. “As disappointed as we are at the announcement, we must now turn our focus into how to make this time a period of growth so that we can all come out of this stronger together.”
“It’s probably one of the toughest things as a coach to have to tell your team; that despite the work and dedication you’ve put in, something outside of your control is now taking away an opportunity,” said head women’s soccer coach Jim Blankenship.
“This is certainly not the outcome we had all been hoping for, but as you looked across the national landscape, it was one that seemed inevitable as each day passed,” said head volleyball coach Matt Botsford. “We shift gears and focus our attention on the growth and development of our team, absent of the road map we had grown accustomed to.”
Though the news concerns all fall sports, this will not affect that of mens and womens basketball, who are set to begin their season in November.
FGCU men’s basketball recently had their opening series against USC cancelled, due to the PAC-12 delaying its basketball season until January 2021.
Head coach Michael Fly spoke on the difficult decision, saying “We are obviously disappointed about the apparent loss of the USC game to open the season with today’s PAC-12 announcement.” He also added, “We are still focused on preparing for the season and have done so knowing that we are working in a very fluid environment.”