By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer
COVID-19 has drastically affected and changed college-life as universities and organizations have had to make tough decisions in the name of student and faculty safety. One of the casualties of these changes has been intramurals and club sports.
A hallmark of the college experience, intramurals and club sports have been negatively affected in significant ways, as intramural opportunities have been limited and club sports outright canceled.
These changes and cancellations have affected many students at Baylor both physically and mentally as their ability to compete and be active have been restricted.
In an email sent to students, Baylor IM Sports detailed that there will be no spectators allowed for intramurals this semester “for the safety of the Intramural Staff and Participants.” The email also said that team sports will not continue until the university’s moratorium on events is lifted.
Even with the considerable rule changes, many students don’t feel comfortable playing intramurals due to the pandemic. Phoenix junior Nate Rowan said the inability to play intramurals has been physically and mentally taxing.
“Intramurals is one of my favorite ways to bond with people, so it has been tough to be without that,” Rowan said. “I miss basketball the most.”
While intramurals have been changed, most club sports at Baylor have been canceled altogether, albeit by their individual leagues and not by Baylor.
The Texas Club Soccer League sent an email to both the Women’s and Men’s club soccer teams at Baylor announcing that it would be canceling the spring season due to COVID-19 concerns.
“As commissioners, we have decided to follow suit with NIRSA Soccer and cancel the Spring 21 season and tournaments,” the email said. “This decision was not easy, but we feel it is the safest one for all of our league participants.”
This news was hard to hear for many members, who had been training and practicing for months in anticipation of the upcoming season.
“I was definitely disappointed to hear that the season was canceled as I had joined the team this season,” Will Ledbetter, a junior from Milton, Tenn., and a member of the men’s club soccer team said. “I was looking forward to a great season and had been training to be conditioned for it.”
Ledbetter said the news of the cancellation affected his mentality, especially as he hoped the situation surrounding the pandemic could improve this semester.
“Mentally, it was not fantastic at the beginning of the semester to hear that we wouldn’t be able to play,” Ledbetter said. “But at this point, with the COVID lifestyle, I have learned to just live with what comes my way.”
The lack of club sports has forced some to turn to other methods so they can stay physically active. Salinas, Calif., junior Taylor Burbank plays on the women’s club soccer team and said the season being cancelled has forced her to adjust and be physically active in other ways.
“It has been an adjustment not being able to play as much soccer as I’m used to,” Burbank said. “Soccer is both a physical and mental outlet for me, so I’ve had to satisfy those by being active in other ways.”