Hudson Valley Sports Report

SUNY NEW PALTZ PLAYS THE WAITING GAME

With No Fall Or Winter Sports, Hawks Hoping For Spring Approval

By Jonathan Conti
Special to HVSR

NEW PALTZ – For most Division II- and III-level collegiate sports, the coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected playing time while also playing head games with athletes and administrators wondering when things will return.

At the State University of New York at New Paltz, the D-III Hawks – and the rest of their league opponents in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) – it’s been nothing but a waiting game.

With all fall sports canceled prior to school even returning last September, and all winter sports shut down with an October announcement, the schools are anxiously awaiting approval on whether they can suit up for spring sports.

Matt Giufre, the Interim Director of Athletics, Wellness & Recreation and also the Head Women’s Volleyball Coach at SUNY New Paltz, knows the frustration.

“We’re all waiting to hear on the status of spring sport competition; no official decisions have been made on that yet,” Giufre told Hudson Valley Sports Report.

One of the key aspects that has been affecting the decision to fully bring back spring sports is the concern of spreading the virus and the type of safety protocols each school is taking. If a certain college does not follow the proper steps for safety, per order of the Chancellor of SUNY Schools, that college will not be allowed to play.

“We may increase testing once teams start traveling,” Giufre said. “There will be masks worn and social distancing on buses, no hotel stays unless it is an emergency, and we’re going to limit the amount of time we spend in other communities.”

Not only has the stoppage affected these sports as a whole, but the players as well. According to the NCAA Student-Athlete COVID-19 well-being study, a test designed to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student-athletes’ current physical and mental well-being, “4 in 5 athletes surveyed indicated that both local regulations and a lack of access to appropriate facilities were barriers to athletics training.”

Giufre also explained how college athletes are feeling not only at New Paltz, but all across the country at every collegiate sport level.

“I think that what our student-athletes and staff are experiencing are really similar to what students and people overall are experiencing,” Giufre said. “And that’s a sense of loss to be able to do something they love to do.”

With most spring sports scheduled to start at the end of February or the beginning of March, people are staying positive that the semester will bring normality for sports.

“We want to be optimistic about a return to some sort of semblance of competition for spring sports” Giufre said.

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