College sports have always been a huge part of American culture, whether it be through households watching an exciting rivalry or the athletes who spend their high school careers preparing to play at their dream college. When many college sports’ seasons were cancelled due to COVID-19, thousands of students had their dream college experience taken away from them.
One of these students is Emily Saalfeld, a 2020 Marian graduate and current freshman at Northwest Missouri State University. Saalfeld received a scholarship to run cross country and track, but received the news on Aug. 5 that there would be no season for her to run in. “I was in absolute disbelief. I could not believe that something I had been looking forward to for so long had gotten cancelled,” Saalfeld said.
The cancellation of college sports has begged the question: What happens to the students who are on sports scholarships but aren’t having a season? “We still have our scholarship, but since the season has been cancelled, it is counted as a redshirt season.We then have another year of eligibility,” Saalfeld said.
However, while Saalfeld’s team is still practicing in preparation for their upcoming indoor track season, some students were not as lucky. Claire Hartley ‘20 received an athletic scholarship for diving at the University of Iowa this year, but that is no longer going to happen. “Our [dive] team, and a few others, actually got cut due to the budget and money cuts the university had to make since football isn’t happening,” she said. This means that some students might not be able to afford their college tuition, which could lead to some students transferring and completing their school year elsewhere.
The loss of the college sports’ fall season was felt by college athletes all around the country. However, there is still opportunity for a winter and spring season this year, which offers hope for a brighter year ahead in the world of college sports.