MSUM Student Athletes affected by COVID-19

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Championships, tournaments and spring season cancellations create a domino effect to all sports governed by the NCAA.

BY PHIL MELROE phillp.melroe@go.mnstate.edu

Despite setbacks and restrictions due to the coronavirus, MSUM football players have adapted to a new way of life. 

On March 19, local conferences such as the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, as well as the NCAA as a whole, suspended all in-person activities including workouts, practices and meetings. As first announced, the earliest these could have resumed was April 1, but that timeline is fluid with it already being postponed until further notice. 

This leaves a hole in the student athlete experience for Sam Harris, MSUM junior football player.

 “A lot of athletics-wise, we are completely on our own. We get workouts sent to us, but we’re not getting that comradery with teammates, we’re not getting any team building time in the locker room, in the weight room, on the field,” Harris said.  

This gap left is being solved by online solutions, many used by internet classes as well. 

“Team bonding is a lot different. Zoom meetings have become a lot more fun.”

“Team bonding is a lot different. Zoom meetings have become a lot more fun. We don’t get to get together in actual team meetings, but we do get to see each other three or four times a week online, so we joke around and have a good time, on the internet setting,” Harris said.

The NCAA is allowing for up to four hours a week for meetings that are held over a video platform, such as Zoom. 

Creativity is not only for leadership and position meetings, but also for workouts. Austin Roob, MSUM junior football player, has seen his teammates take it into their own hands to stay active.

 “The guys have gone out and bought or built their own squat rack and put it in their garage, finding a way to stay in shape and keep their strength they’ve built over the winter,” Roob said. A few members of the football team have resorted to putting together squat racks with woods and screws. 

This long time away from face-to-face contact could cause a drift between players. 

“I think there is a chance it will split up the team a little bit between guys who stay up here and guys we know who are working out and taking care of business,” Harris said. “I don’t think it will really affect the team bonding, but (it could with) guys who aren’t always showing up to meetings or guys we can’t really trust who are working out.”

One shared thought between the two of them is trying to find a silver lining through all of this. Roob sees the light at the end of the tunnel. 

“You can always find positives. Right now there’s a ton of negatives, but you can try to find a couple of positive things out of it,” Roob said.

 Harris is indeed taking the negative in life and making it positive. 

“I think it’s a unique opportunity for everyone who plays a college sport right now to realize why they are playing it and why they want to keep doing it,” Harris said. “When you’re with your teammates it’s easy to keep going, but when you’re working out in a garage or a basement completely on your own, it’s a mental test to realize why you are doing this.”

While this is not the typical offseason in years past, it is the current-day norm, with no sign of change in at least the next couple of weeks.

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