NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Pandemic robs student athletes of a season

Almost all of the college sports seasons were either suspended, if they were already in play, or cancelled, if they had yet to start, by mid March.

This had many far-reaching implications on many people, academic institutions, and corporations that relied on these sports for either entertainment or revenue.

Many estimate that Vegas casinos and other avenues of gambling lost over 100$ million dollars with the cancelation of the Men’s basketball tournament, also known as ‘March Madness’, which was consistently one of the biggest gambling events of the year.

The event’s cancellation could be a huge blow to a legal sports gambling industry still in its infancy. Many schools that do not field a football, or at least a division 1 FBS football team, relied on revenues from their more popular winter and spring sports to support sports that don’t generate as much revenue, or may even be operating in the red.

This may cause some schools to trim down some of their smallers sports or cut them out altogether. This would have a drastic effect on the faculty employed in those sports, as well as the athletes that compete and have scholarships for those sports. More on the latter of these two later though. Many sports stations and streaming services that had secured the rights to broadcast these sports are losing out on millions, if not billions, collectively.

The aforementioned march madness tournament is one the biggest television events of the year while also spanning several weeks. It brought both revenue and ad money that just can’t be replaced with anything else, especially with professional sports being on a hiatus too.

Despite all these hardships that have been previously mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, they only touch upon lightly the people that I feel for the most: the Student-Athletes that were robbed of a season. Right away eligibility issues arise. The NCAA, the body that governs most collegiate sports in America, is notorious for making boneheaded decisions of which the logic that guided them there is unclear. To give them credit though, they did decide that all spring athletes would be able to be given an extra season of eligibility to make up for this lost season. But some athletes might not be able to take advantage of this.

For one, they may have already had jobs lined up for the upcoming year upon graduating. Also, not all athletes are on scholarship. Many of them are ‘walk-ons’ people who do not receive financial rewards for their athletic contributions.

For this group it doesn’t make financial sense to stay another year on their own bill. All of this isn’t to mention the winter sports athletes that were robbed of the ending of their season. Imagine being a senior. You know your next few games are all do-or-die games.

Everytime you step foot on the court, it could be the last time you’re doing it competitively.

You hyped yourself, knowing that from here on out you’re going to give it your all and…. That last game just never comes. That must be devastating, as most of these student athletes are not being granted an extra year of eligibility.

To all the student-athletes of the winter and spring sports, you have my sincerest condolences. I am truly sorry that this pandemic robbed what little precious time most of you have left to compete in the sports you all respectively love. It doesn’t compare to the people who are dying, but it really is a tragedy in and of itself.