The Northeast-10 (NE10) suspended conference-sponsored competition for this upcoming fall semester leaving its contender, SNHU, expunged from fall sports. Furthermore, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II canceled its 2020 fall championships, likewise leaving SNHU’s fall teams with no trophies to compete for in 2020.
Under normal circumstances, the majority of fall athletes would return to school in August to give them time to practice their sport, get into shape and bond with their teammates before the regular season commences, but that did not happen this year.
The SNHU Field Hockey Team, who made it to the NCAA Championship in 2019, will not be dominating the conference again this fall.
“Our number one priority for our team this fall is to make sure we have positive mental health. At some point, we will send them an optional training workout and many of them are doing stick skills and playing with their club teams on their own. No FH [field hockey] will be mandatory,” said Head Coach Julie Munson when asked what their goals are this fall.
She continued, “This change has given me more time to focus on my players as individuals rather than as a team. I am connecting with them in different ways and learning how they (and myself) deal with stressful situations, challenges, and setbacks like this. It is a perfect opportunity to work on our mental strength when this time of the year we are usually working on physical aspects of our game.
The absence of athletics has not only affected the athletes of SNHU. Many coaches put countless hours into their teams and work hard to strive for success. This fall is no different even when they are not physically together.
For Ainsley Knox (’23), playing volleyball has always been her fall routine, so being unable to play on an organized team this fall is what she considers strange. Although the team isn’t together, they are still connecting in other ways. “Our team has been meeting through Zoom with our coaches,” said Knox, who’s located in Texas. “We got to meet our recruits which was cool. It’s a little strange because most people on the team are in different time zones, so this makes team meetings a little difficult, but we are managing.”
To keep the routine alive, Knox will still play volleyball, but in a different setting than the Stan Spirou Field House at SNHU. “With volleyball, I was just able to get into my old club and start some private lessons. I am hoping I will be able to help out at my old high school as well,” said Knox. For Knox and many collegiate athletes, staying involved in sports at home is the closest thing to normality.
In hopes of a return in the spring semester, staying connected and positive is a priority. Head Coach Munson reassured us, saying, “What we do know is the NE-10 and SNHU are working hard at creating an opportunity for fall sports to compete in the spring, which is something that gives us all a lot of hope.”
It is still undecided if students will be able to participate in sports this upcoming spring. “I am looking forward to our season… It was just postponed to the spring, so that and being with my team is what I am looking forward to,” said Knox about the current and potential future plans.
Players and coaches are both finding ways to fill the fall season with their beloved sports, whether it is online or in their respective towns. Hope for the spring semester is still prospering as the year 2020 progresses forward.
NE10 posts their announcement for the fall semester update on July 16, 2020, leaving all Division II sports without play.