The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent recommendations for addressing the coronavirus pandemic triggered another round of cancelations in college athletics.
Both the Middle Atlantic Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association canceled on Monday all competition for the upcoming spring season, halting sports at Hood College and Frederick Community College, respectively, for the remainder of the school year.
In a guidance announcement issued a day earlier, the CDC advised against organizing gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks.
FCC baseball coach Rodney Bennett outlined the best-case and worst-case scenarios for the spring season at his team’s final practice on Friday. The worst-case scenario played out on Monday, and because all Cougars coaches were not allowed to gather with their players at any point after Friday, Bennett was forced to deliver the news in a group text message.
“The only thing I could explain to my guys when I spoke to them [at practice] is there’s nothing anyone can do about it,” Bennett said. “This is an unprecedented time in our country for sure. Obviously, sports take a back seat to everything when it comes to health, that’s for sure.”
Bennett returned almost 20 players from a team that won last season’s Region XX Division II championship, and he said the newcomers on the team “picked up like they’d been here the whole time,” making for a season with high expectations.
For Bennett, the “silver lining, from a sports perspective,” is that the NJCAA will allow spring athletes to retain a season of eligibility. Bennett said a few sophomores on his team have already expressed an interest in returning to FCC next year.
The MAC also granted its spring student-athletes another season of eligibility.
Regardless of whether or not the Cougars can keep the majority of their team intact, Bennett put an emphasis on relationships.
“There’s no doubt there’s something special with this group, and there will always be something special with this group from here moving forward,” he said. “I know they have life-long friendships from it, so that’s something we can hold on to.”