Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour has released a special message to Nittany Lions students, student-athletes, fans and alumni amidst the public health crisis.
Barbour, like many athletic directors across the country, mentioned her sorrow for the student-athletes whose winter and fall seasons were cut short due to the COVID-19 concerns. She does, however, acknowledge that the appropriate measures and precautions were taken at an unprecedented time in the country.
The message was released from Barbour on Wednesday. Below is her full message:
Dear Nittany Nation,
The last week has been like no other in our history, and although its reach is far beyond sport, our Intercollegiate Athletics program and our student-athletes, coaches and staff have been dramatically impacted. Our week started on a high as we looked forward to NCAA Championship competition for many of our winter sport teams and our spring sport teams dispersed for packed spring break competitions. By the time we reached week’s end, the remainder of the year’s winter and spring sport competitions had been shuttered, leaving our students, coaches, staff and community with an unbearable void. The NCAA, Big Ten Conference and Penn State University had all taken unfortunate, but fully necessary steps to help protect all involved in college athletics across the country, and throughout each of our local communities.
The collective heartbeat of our community aches for our students and their sudden loss of opportunity to play the sports they love and to wear the blue and white with their customary pride and conviction. Time and time again, Penn Staters have demonstrated that we are a resilient lot. This crisis will be no different. We will continue to make decisions that provide for the best health and safety conditions for our students, faculty and staff. Our first-rate faculty have turned the switch to begin delivering classroom instruction remotely, and our coaches and support staff are working diligently to provide virtual support to our students academically, athletically, for their mental and physical health, and for continued student development.
As an important part of our Penn State family, we hope that you and your loved ones are taking all precautions to stay safe and healthy during this worldwide pandemic. Together, we will begin preparing for the day our students will return to campus, our student-athletes will resume training for Penn State competitions and we will all fill our campus venues where the collective voice of the Penn State Nation will be heard again. When the time is right, rest assured that your Nittany Lions will be a strong and vibrant part of the return to normalcy, and a powerful platform for the resurgence of our campus and local community. Until then, please be well and safe and don’t hesitate to let us know how we can assist you through these challenging times.
It’s unknown when the NCAA will resume athletic activities, but in all likelihood, athletics for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year will not be continued. The association is currently working on the possibility of allowing spring student-athletes an additional year of eligibility, though there has been no confirmation on whether or not that will happen.
College basketball insider Jon Rothstein reported on Wednesday that it is unlikely that winter sport athletes will receive additional eligibility.