The CSU system has begun the 2020-2021 fiscal year virtually. With many challenges come many changes, one of which being the athletics program. Athletes are not required to return to campus, thus making the department operate differently than usual.
When asked about this transition, Athletic Director Shawn Farrell says, “It is times like these that our support is stronger than ever.”
Pat Walsh, Head Athletic Trainer, says, “We were looking forward to getting athletes back in the training room to maintain the general health of our students. Little did we know that we were not going to be able to work with them at all.” Walsh takes the lead on physical therapy with student athletes and is responsible for the overall health of each team.
The Athletic Department has ten teams that compete in conference, regional, and national tournaments. Each team has attempted to stay virtually connected. Team meetings and department meetings have been scheduled since the beginning of April.
Farrell says, “The challenge with this is that a lot of things are above our heads. We have people working on problem solving and continuing the culture of ‘ten teams one pack.’” The question for many is when everything will go back to meeting in person.
The staff members are reporting to campus only to host meetings online or have time away from home. Chelsea Herman, the Senior Associate Athletics Director, is currently working virtually and has expressed her desire to return to her office and see the “rad faces of our student athletes” walking through the halls. Forty-seven qualified people, including coaches and faculty members, await the return of routine and athletic competition.
Walsh says, “Our work load has not changed. In fact, it may be higher now than ever before. We have so many people working on plans for this case scenario, that situation, and that situation.”
Student athletes express their desire to be on campus. Tyrell Henderson, a senior men’s basketball player says, “I miss being on campus and just around other student athletes in general. Whether it is in the training room, between classes or just seeing new faces at the games – it was a part of what made the games so fun.”
The student athletes have created a subculture within the university that is operated by many and supported by more. Herman says, “The presence of students athletes on this campus create an environment for growth and community.”