Fall sports navigate COVID-19 seasons

Men%27s+soccer+team+celebrating+their+victory+over+Hope+in+the+MIAA+tournament+final.+%28Photo+courtesy+calvinknights.com%29

Men’s soccer team celebrating their victory over Hope in the MIAA tournament final. (Photo courtesy calvinknights.com)

Academic institutions around the country have tried to find a way to play while ensuring the safety of their players. In July of this year, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association announced that they were postponing all of their fall sports. Due to this, the athletic department is considering playing outside of the MIAA or a suspension of all play.

Individual teams are making decisions, rather than a blanket athletic department policy. According to coach Amber Warners, the volleyball team will not be competing in another conference this fall. 

For the soccer teams, a different plan is in place. The NCAA made a ruling that if a team plays less than half of the schedule then its players will retain another year of eligibility. As a result, the hope is that next spring the soccer season will be cut down to 9 games with each team in the MIAA playing every team once, according to men’s soccer coach Ryan Souders. At the conclusion of these games there will be a conference tournament that all teams will participate in.  

Coach Souders expressed optimism about this decision and is excited to be working with his players in any capacity. Souders said, “Our guys are hungry to play. Last time we played together was December, so I’m very excited for our guys to get out there and compete in any capacity.” He communicated how he is thankful for the opportunity to play at all as he said “right now it is important for us to have a high level of grace and understanding.” 

Since the men’s soccer team is allowed to play ten regular season games, and is only playing nine, they are seeking to find an opponent whom they may scrimmage in either the spring or some time this fall. 

“Our guys love the game, love being together, and they love Calvin so we are eager to play even if it’s just us,” Souders said. 

None of this has been officially announced by the MIAA, but this is a tentative plan for the upcoming soccer season.