Spectators bring controversy to campus

JORDYN BRADLEY
SPORTS EDITOR

On Feb. 15, the Alma College athletic department announced that, starting Feb. 17, limited spectators from outside the Alma community would be permitted to attend indoor sporting events.

Every student-athlete will be allowed to have up to two parents or guardians at home contests in Art Smith Arena. These spots are non-transferable, meaning that only parents or guardians are able to utilize them. They are required to reserve their spots for upcoming games ahead of time.

Alma College students, staff and faculty are also permitted to attend home basketball and volleyball games. Only 30 campus community members are allowed into the arena, with 60 parents allowed.

The Alma College spirit squad and dance team are also allowed in the arena and able to perform when the teams aren’t occupying the court.

“When I heard that there would be a bit of spectators allowed, I was excited to be honest,” said Emma VanDeusen (‘22), a member of the spirit squad.

“We really try to hype up the crowd, which then hopefully hypes up the players. [Performing on Feb. 17] definitely felt different than [pre-pandemic], but it felt as close to normal as anything has in almost a year.”

The spirit squad performed in the bleachers at the men’s basketball game against Hope College on Feb. 17. The dance team also had their separate area in the arena, and in an effort to promote social distancing, neither group intermingled.

“My coaches, the dance team coaches, Sarah Dehring and Kiana Verdugo have all worked really hard to make sure we are in a space dedicated just to us to ensure we are kept safe,” said VanDeusen.

“With the extensive testing that is done, I do feel safe. Sports teams are being tested three times [a week], which feels like a lot but it’s to make sure we can participate in sports safely.”

The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association voted on Feb. 12 to grant institutional discretion to allow spectators at indoor venues. Alma College athletics must follow rules and regulations set by the MIAA.

Despite the leniency granted to athletics, performing arts do not have to comply with these same policies. Dance company, theatre, choir and band performances are still not permitted to have audience members outside the campus community, as per Alma College. Instead, these events are live-streamed for parents and guardians to watch.

Some events in the arts have been able to have members of the campus community watch in-person, but others have not.

“Honestly, it’s been really difficult [because] up until this year, my family has never missed a dance concert of mine,” said Meredith Bowles (‘21).

“It’s weird not seeing them in the audience.”

Spectators being allowed at indoor sporting events but not at the performing arts has created a divide on campus.

“I’ve seen a lot of controversy, so I want to start out by saying I’m not blaming the sports or attacking the sports in any way,” said Bowles.

“I know it’s not the athletes’ fault. However, it’s personally really frustrating to me that the school didn’t even consider approving outside people to come to [performances in the arts] the same time they approved sporting events.”

Some students are wondering if allowing spectators on campus will add to the spread of the Coronavirus, as the expectations of the spectators aren’t outlined to the campus community.

“Now [that] they’re allowing parents on campus for events, are they getting tested?” asked Leo West (‘22).

“Are they even gonna be held to mask rules?”

Additionally, students are upset that sports teams are able to travel off-campus for games and matches, but students who aren’t involved in athletics are not permitted to travel more than 10 miles outside of Alma.

“Baseball can go to Louisiana, but I can’t go to my friend’s dorm room,” said West.

“I have nothing against the baseball team, but the policy that allows them to do all that is backwards.” As coronavirus cases on campus are currently low, the campus community hopes that numbers remain this way despite spectators being allowed on campus for events. If numbers remain low, the potential grows for audience members to be able to attend performing arts events in the future, and for students to be able to travel outside the Alma community.

Buccaneers win Super Bowl, make history

AISHWARYA SINGH
STAFF WRITER

WESTON HIRVELA
GRAPHIC CREATOR

On Feb. 7 this year, two of the best teams for the National Football Conference and American Football Conference respectively played the Super Bowl under conditions unprecedented in its 52-year history.

The Super Bowl attracts millions of viewers less for the game and more for the experience and the ads in what remains media’s greatest marketing showcase, with advertisers paying roughly $5.5 million for each 30-second spot.

The annual championship of the National Football League culminated in the first week of February with 91.6 million viewers who tuned in to their TVs to watch, making it the lowest number of viewers for the Super Bowl since 2007 which sat at 93.2 million viewers on television.

Many have attributed the poor ratings to the lack of a competitive game which almost always draws in greater views.

A straightforward game like the one we saw between The National Football Conference champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs failed to captivate audiences with mystery and unpredictability the way past games have. This was visible in the result of the game, a shocking 31–9 win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This year’s game started with a note to the audiences delivered by the NFL. The public-service announcement was regarding the NFL’s financial commitment to a campaign against systemic racism. Despite the NFL’s well meaning attempt at addressing America’s recent reckoning with its racist history, the organization’s failure to make any reference to Colin Kaepernick- the civil rights activist and football quarterback- felt like an oversight to many.

In what can be considered a lowlight of the game, Kansas City, despite entering the game perfectly capable of winning, undid their prospects of winning because of their offensive oversights and significant penalties.

In what was a rather anticlimactic game for the Chiefs, led by Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs failed to score a touchdown despite their frantic efforts and lost by double-digits, making them also the third Super Bowl team to not score a touchdown. Not just that, but by the end of the four hours, the Chiefs had committed 11 penalties, including a record eight penalties in the first half.

On a brighter note, for the Buccaneers, their victory set their name in history by making them the only other team (with the Baltimore Ravens) to be undefeated in multiple Super Bowls.

Veteran quarterback Tom Brady was awarded his record fifth MVP also making him the oldest player to receive the honor.

“This was the first time I ever watched the Super Bowl because this is my first year in the United States. As an Indian, I’ve only known of the Super Bowl from American TV shows,” said Aditya Shankar (’24). To be here, live the passion people have for the game and watch it firsthand made me feel as though I am part of a cultural moment unique to this country. It was a very interesting game to watch, at least for a Super Bowl rookie like me, but the disappointment in the eyes of my peers was visible. It’s an incredibly unique game with a lot of moving parts and it takes a while to understand, but once I took notes of the basics, I knew I’d be joining the madness yet again next year”, he continued.

Despite the ups and downs of this Super Bowl season and the unprecedented conditions of a global pandemic under which the game was played, Super Bowl will be back in February of next year to capture the hearts and minds of millions of Americans once again and perhaps provide to its audiences a more dynamic game that will soar ratings like the past.

Athletics in the time of a pandemic

HADEN GROSS
STAFF WRITER

As student’s return to a snow-covered campus, many athletes have begun gearing up for their sporting seasons. While athletics look a bit different this year, proud scots are still ready to go out and give their all for the mighty tartan and maroon. With this sporting season, comes a new insurgence of COVID testing for athletes as they embark on their journeys.

The new wave of COVID testing is divided into roughly two sections, containing various levels of testing the athletes are subjected to. Students who participate in non-contact sports will have 25 percent of their team randomly selected for testing once a week. Those in contact sports will be tested three times a week to ensure maximum safety to those on campus. All student athletes will be tested three days prior to their away games.

The COVID test that the students will take will be the rapid test: meaning students will get their results within 24 to 36 hours of taking it. This rapid test was met with controversy in the past few months as many sources have claimed that the test is less effective.

When asking up and coming football players how they felt about the ramped-up testing, we were met with a few responses.

“I don’t feel as if the rapid testing is nearly as effective as the other tests, but it almost feels pointless considering students are still leaving campus and breaking the rules,” Said Bennett Hendrickson (24’), “However, the test still provides an important safety measure as student athletes begin their seasons.”

Some athletes have already been tested numerous times since their return to campus. Either being tested via the nasal swab, or the saliva tests. Athletes are chosen at random, and then are able to pick from the various time slots to be tested.

“I have been tested three times within the last two weeks, and while it seems a tad excessive, I understand the need for increased testing,” Said Luke Cooper (23’), “As long as we [athletes] get to play this year, I will continue to get tested as much as they need me to.”

Due to the pandemic, outdoor sports such as football have had their seasons moved to the spring, giving their athletes a colder environment then they are used to.

“It sucks that we will be playing in the cold weather, but we as a team will adapt and survive to meet this season’s challenges” Said Hendrickson.

While other sports like cross country have been only able to practice, whereas the various dance team and companies have had to alter their routines in ordinance to social distancing guidelines. Winter sports have been moved back and are now running into the spring sporting seasons. Coupled with these changes, athletes have also had shortened or altered season to reduce the spread of COVID.

“Even though the season is shortened, it still feels great to get to be able to get on the field and play the sport that we love,” Said Cooper, “The school has done everything within their power to minimize risk and it is better to miss a couple of football games than for someone to get seriously ill when it could have been easily prevented.”

Although the sports have been altered to fit the many rules and guidelines of COVID-19, students are still optimistic and hopeful as they embark on their sporting seasons.

“Albeit the strange season, I am so hyped to get some dubs with the boys!” Said Hendrickson, with a laugh when asked if he was excited for the upcoming football season.

It is a hope that all student athletes carry the same optimism that Hendrickson has.

Inside look at Alma Athletics

ALYSSA GALL
SPORTS WRITER

With sports’ seasons put on hold and social gatherings limited on campus, Alma College’s Athletic Department seeks to find new ways to keep student-athletes connected, even when they are off the field. One new way is through the use of the latest form of communication during this disconnected time: video.

While student-athletes may have to wait to put on their uniforms and see the field, the Athletic Department, along with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), has created a new way to get to know the athletes beyond their jerseys. In the new weekly video series posted to YouTube, Inside Scots Sports, each video takes a deeper look into the lives of some of Alma’s athletes.

“Our Inside Scots Sports videos are made to give athletes and faculty something to look forward to during this troubling time with no athletic events,” said SAAC Social Media Coordinator and host of the show, Hunter Nash(’22). “We aim to show that there is more to our student athletes here at Alma than just being an athlete. In saying that, I try to focus my questions not only on what made the athlete or faculty member come to Alma but what sparked their love for sports and competition in the first place!”

In these videos, each episode focuses on interviewing a student-athlete or even a college staff member within the Athletic Department. When interviewing, Nash dives into more than just questions about the athlete and their sport. Each video centers around getting to know the student-athlete on a more personal level rather than just being a number on the field.

“The idea for these videos was to give our community more information about our athletes here on campus to solidify a bond that athletes across campus all have with each other,” said Nash. “We want all athletes to look at the Athletic Department as a community where they can reach out to anyone if need be!”

With the aim being to strengthen the athletic community, it is no surprise that the push behind the formation of the videos stems from the Athletic Department’s own Sports Information Director, Matt Moran. The concept for the videos started as an idea to increase not only a sense of family amongst athletes, but to introduce the Alma community to the variety of students, who make up Alma’s 27 different sports’ teams. All Moran had to do was pitch the idea, find a host, and the rest was history.

“The idea is something I came up with as I wanted to feature our student-athletes more on a personal level,” said Moran. “I was suggested to reach out to Hunter because he has a passion for these kinds of projects. Hunter basically took the idea and ran with it by coming up with the name of the show and deciding what questions would be asked. I then worked with Hunter as well as our Assistant AD Kiana Verdugo on how we would go about putting it all together.”

When it comes to the production of these videos, Nash was eager to accept the challenge as the host with his interests in the business field and wanting to focus on his professionalism in public speaking. In each seven to ten-minute-long video, Nash interviews a different student-athlete to not only get to know them as an athlete, but a student as well through his wide array of witty questions.

“A typical video consists of some easy questions to get to know why the individual started playing their sport and how they found their way to Alma,” said Nash. “I then like to get into some questions about them so that myself and the community can learn more behind their name on their jersey. I then like to keep it light and fun by throwing in some weird and out of the box

questions to make it interesting and something to be talked about around campus. Finally, we have a speed round to see how many quick off-the-bat questions the participant can answer in 60 seconds!”

Just like how Nash switches up his questions to keep the interview interesting and participants on their toes, he also looks to interview student-athletes from all across the athletic community. This is notable in the videos posted, which consist of interviews featuring Men’s Soccer junior, Jarod Arendsen(’22), Volleyball and Softball Junior, Haley Ullrich(’22) and Men’s Golf and Tennis senior, Tait Morrissey(’21).

“I started the first couple interviews by interviewing individuals from other sports teams that I know, but it is completely open to anyone who wants to participate, so if you want to be on the show….Send me an email!” said Nash. “However, if I do not get volunteers, then I plan to make my way through the Athletic Department and hit someone from every team before going back through.”

With the future of sports’ seasons up in the air, it is important to take this time to reflect on not only what these sports mean to athletes, but to acknowledge what these athletes mean to the sports and athletic community. Thanks to the Athletic Department, Moran and Nash’s push for the Inside Scots Sports videos, it helps give the community something to rally around and learn more about the athletes, who they will cheer on when sports go back into action.

“I think it’s important, especially during this time, that we feature the members of the Alma College family,” said Moran. “With no competitions going on, it gives us more time to do these projects and tell the stories of these people. At the end of the day, I hope people are entertained by them and that they learn something they never knew before about the person being featured.”

Volunteering has a new look for sports teams

ALYSSA GALL
SPORTS WRITER

At Alma College, volunteering is a key priority for many sports’ teams. With many of their seasons on hold, athletes are finding new and safe ways to continue giving back to the community. Although volunteering may be taking a different form, the Scots are not letting COVID-19 take another opportunity away from them.

“Last year, volunteering opportunities were easier to find as a team and on my own” said sophomore lacrosse player, Ava Frederickson (’23).

“Since COVID, however, there are more restrictions on where people can volunteer and how many people you can have. It makes it difficult to volunteer as a team, which is a big part of Alma athletics.”

Coming into this year, athletes were not quite sure how volunteering was going to look. With many teams relying heavily on community service as a pillar of what they stand for, teams had to become innovative, especially within the community.

“Volunteering has changed a lot this year due to Covid,” said senior women’s swimmer, Haven Westra (21).

“We often serve in-person at the Masonic Home, which is a high-risk population, so we have been unable to do that. Additionally, our team of 40 people cannot all meet together to volunteer due to the social distancing guidelines. We have switched to remote service or volunteering outside.”

Despite social distancing and gathering limitations, teams are still finding different ways to come together as a team. Whether this means meeting online or outside where social distancing can happen, teams are finding ways to stay connected in order to give back to the community.

“I think it is important to volunteer during the pandemic because a lot of people are struggling right now and can use assistance and encouragement” said Westra.

“It is possible to be creative and intentional to ensure the safety of volunteers and those who we are serving.

As difficult as the pandemic has been for student-athletes, it is important to look at the bigger picture of our community and do what we can to help others.”

Volunteering during a pandemic may not seem like a priority, but to a few teams, such as the Women’s Swim and Dive team as well as the Women’s Lacrosse team, it is crucial to not only thank the community for their support, but to remind them that we have not forgotten about them and everything they have done for the teams and college.

In particular, Alma’s Masonic Home has always been one of the sports’ teams’ favorite places to volunteer at. Athletes enjoyed having the opportunity to play minute-towin-it games or charades with the residents. Hence, teams have had to come up with innovative ways to stay connected.

“We made cards for the residents at the Masonic Home last week,” said Westra. “We wrote encouraging messages to them since the residents have not been able to have visitors due to the pandemic. We chose to take part in the opportunity because it would be a great remote option for our large team to volunteer in the Alma community. This opportunity was provided through the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the SAAC Community Outreach Coordinator, Joe Vondrasek.”

Teams are not the only ones working on outreach to the community. Committees, such as SAAC, are helping teams and students stay involved within the community by offering safe volunteering opportunities for everyone involved. The online app, HelperHelper, also helps provide athletes with updates on upcoming events that need volunteers for in-person and virtual aid.

All of these volunteering moments not only help the community physically but socially as well.

“I believe part of building a community is through creating a strong support system but also through making friendships” said Frederickson.

“Volunteering helps build friendships and connections through the people you meet. It builds character and helps people to understand different point of views. Right now, the world is hurting and it’s important for people to help in any way they can, and the stronger the community, the better they can protect everyone within it. Without volunteers’, nonprofits like the community café would suffer and most would not be able to serve their purpose(s).”

While teams are focusing their attention towards the Alma community, individual players are also generating their energy towards others outside of the community. In Frederickson’s case, she volunteers through online mentoring, dog walking, helping at many nonprofits, such as the Community Café, and conducting surveys for the upcoming election.

In Westra’s case, her volunteering embodies a more team focus thanks to the push from her new coach. With no direct cure for coronavirus in sight, athletes plan to continue their new and safe form of volunteering to give back to the community throughout the school year.

E-Sports and intramural sports have a new look

ALYSSA GALL
SPORTS WRITER

With some sport seasons on hold and others up in the air, the few sports that are currently happening at Alma College are taking on a new and safe look. Fall sports, such as football, soccer, cross country and volleyball, may be getting pushed into the spring season, but one lucky sport, Esports, is gearing to start their fall season.

With their sport predominantly taking place online, Esports players are in the clear when it comes to Covid-19 restrictions and are set to have a smooth sailing season.

“Last year many of the Esports teams were forced to end their seasons early and we were forced to cut off the tail end of our season because of Covid,” said senior Esports player, Nolan Rowland (’21). “This year we are planning on going ahead with the full season and are, thankfully, able to practice together while still abiding by the rules set by the college,” said Rowland.

With their 2020 season coming to an abrupt end, the Esports team looks to cherish every moment of their upcoming season, which escaped the postponement many other fall sports fell victim to.

On September 17, the Esports team kicked off their season against Davenport university with their League of Legends team. This was their first match of the regular season as they strive towards becoming GG League Champions again.

“The type of Esport depends on the game being played, but for League of Legends, the matches consist of two teams of five players, with each player choosing a unique champion,” said Rowland. “The goal is to destroy the opposing team’s Nexus, a structure that lies at the heart of their base, which is protected by defensive structures.” In this match, Rowland led the team with six assists and deaths as well as twelve eliminations.

Although the team fell to Davenport 2-0, the team remains optimistic and looks hopeful towards the rest of their season and upcoming match against Western Illinois University on October 1.

“While we were not able to beat Davenport this time, we learned very valuable lessons from those matches, and we are not necessarily expecting immediate results at the beginning of the season,” said Rowland. “While we have some veterans on the team, we are still quite new and I believe once we develop more chemistry, we should have no problem finding success for the rest of the season.”

As Esports continues to make its way through their season, many other athletes have found themselves with more free time than usual in the wake of many sports being put on hold. With campus looking quieter these days, Alma’s Recreational Center is finding ways to keep students active and safe through the use of intramural (IM) sports.

While IM sports occur throughout the school year, the need for activity and student interaction has placed high interest on the need for fall season IM sports.

“Covid has really put a strain on all activities,” said IM Student Assistant, Jarod Arendsen (’22). “We have implemented a number of regulations and policies to safely play IM sports. Before students can play, they must show their green check marks for their daily health screening. If they don’t have them, we have a temperature gun so they can get their temperature. We also are enforcing that everyone wears a mask while participating in IM sports along with adhering to social distancing.”

Along with these new regulations, new changes have also been made to the set-up of the competitions. Although the games may be running differently, the typical sports of basketball, volleyball, softball, kickball, pickle ball and soccer as well as some other smaller sports will still be offered.

“Before Covid, many IM sports would be a week or two long,” said Arendsen. “Each team would play in pool play for the first week and then go into a single elimination tournament. With Covid, we have had to make many changes. Since many sports you cannot socially distance, we have been limited to outdoor sports. We have been doing weekend tournaments. The number of participants depends on the sport. At each game, we have 1-2 referees to regulate the games and make sure they go smoothly.”

With the new adaptable competitions to current safety regulations, this enables not only the same sports students love and know to be offered, but it provides all students with the opportunity to participate. Even if students have never tried the sport before, it enables them to break out of their comfort zone and try something new—especially during a pandemic.

“I participate in the sports because of the social aspects,” said senior wrestler, Joseph Vondrasek (’21). “I do not fancy myself as competitive outside of wrestling, so I take the time to just enjoy the experience. Sometime the best part is making team jerseys and laughing when things go wrong!”

Although sports and many other on-campus activities may be postponed because of the pandemic, IM sports offer students the ability to not only stay active, but to stay connected and socialize in a time when social interaction is limited. It is something students can do safely and for fun.

“Alma students seem to be longing to have those casual social interactions that we know and love,” said Vondrasek. “Intramural sports create opportunities to socialize and be safe.”

Alma secures sixth consecutive award win

ALYSSA GALL
SPORTS WRITER

For the sixth consecutive year in a row, Alma College continues its legacy of having a student earn the Tom Renner Associate award. This award is given each year to one undergraduate student for the student’s successful service as a top sports information student in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, MIAA. This year the award was given to Alma’s 2020 graduate, Mason Ippel(’20).

“The Tom Renner Associate SID Award is presented to a student assistant at an MIAA member college sports information office for outstanding service as an undergraduate” said Alma College’s Sports Information Director for the Athletic Department, Matthew Moran. “It is named in honor of Tom Renner, the MIAA publicist from 1967-2008.”

In order for a student to be considered, they need to not only be a sports information student, but nominated by the school’s sports information director. Once being nominated, the student is then competing against other students, who were selected and within the MIAA conference. From there, the winner of the award is selected in the summer following the school year.

The Tom Renner award is given to students for their outstanding performance within their school’s sports information office and the work conducted within that office for some of the college’s teams.

“I worked directly with the sports information director for all four years at Alma” said Ippel. “My final year I was brought on as a student assistant to work more closely with the day-to-day operations and to have another level of responsibility. My responsibilities included recording stats for all sports, setting up the press box before games and tearing it down after, writing and distributing game day flyers, communicating with officials and covering wrestling and baseball more closely to write post game recaps.”

Each student worker would have their own specific responsibilities. In fact, Ippel even took his responsibility as an assistant outside of the office. He travelled with Alma’s baseball team on their spring break for their games in Florida.

“Mason worked insanely hard for it” said senior sports information student, Hunter Chovanec(’21). “He would be working in the office after football practice, in the morning and would stay late at night if asked. Mason never complained and was always ready to attack whatever project came to us. He had great enthusiasm and he made me a better worker/person along the way.”

Although Ippel was selected for the award in his senior year and for his many contributions to the college, many note the endless qualities he possessed to earn the award. Beyond his contribution to teams’ social media posts and videos as well as statistics and game recap analysis, Ippel possessed the necessary attitude to not only get work done in the sports information office, but to make him a stand out candidate through his dedication to the program.

“Mason is someone you love to have on your side” said Moran. “He is a leader and hard worker. He always has a positive attitude. He learned how to keep the statistics for many of the sports we have at Alma and you could trust they would be correct. He also has a great passion for sports and for creating engaging content on social media.”

Along with his drive and dedication to the program, Ippel always had his eyes set on achieving this award. It is something he had set out to earn for himself and the college.

“I was pretty excited to win the award” said Ippel. “It was definitely a goal of mine. It was a goal for the office, as well, to have someone win it because someone from Alma has won it 6 years in a row now.”

As mentioned earlier, Ippel is not the first Alma college student to earn the Tom Renner award. He is the sixth-consecutive winner of the award for the college. The first winner of the award was Brent Willis(’10) in 2010.

However, the six year streak for recipients at Alma started in 2015 with Grace Wheeler(’15) and was followed by Brad Vannatter(’16), Ali Holmquist(’17), Harrison LaLone(’18), Emily Jodway(’19) and Ippel.

“The Sports Information Department relies on our student-worker staff to help with the game day experience for every home athletic event, keeping the website up to date and creating video/content” said Moran. “We have been lucky to have students that come here with a passion for athletics and then after gaining experience in sports information they want to pursue it as professional career.”

With Ippel securing the tradition of Alma winning the Tom Renner award, the sports information office aims to continue helping students have access to working in a sports information field. Chovanec hopes to keep the tradition alive through his work at the sports information office and his work with Ippel by earning the award after his senior year.

“If I ever need advice I know [Ippel] is a call or text away, but this was also a team effort” said Chovanec. “Every student in this office works hard. If they gave an award for top sports information office, I believe ours would be right there in contention. Go Scots!”

Athletes tackle new pandemic protocols

ALYSSA GALL
SPORTS WRITER
PHOTO BY LIZZY DERMODY

At Alma College, the fall semester looks different for students this year. This is especially true for the student athletes, whose sports are currently postponed due to the coronavirus. With the hope for the postponement to be lifted in the spring season, athletes remain optimistic as they enter their fall semester without sports.

This postponement is currently hindering the play and competition of all fall sports, such as football, golf, volleyball, cheerleading and cross country. While this postponement has canceled sports competitions for the fall season, it has not canceled the sports’ season fully. There are still decisions and regulations being established within the Athletic Department.

Alma College’s Athletic Director Sarah Dehring said, “Athletics has been working very closely with the Return to Campus Committee on the protocols for a safe return to campus. We have implemented quite a few new policies that have changed throughout the past few months and government, state and NCAA guidelines change.”

With these protocols and goals in mind, Alma’s Athletic Department and facilities have taken on a new look. These safety precautions are not only put in place for the students’ safety, but to ensure a successful and safe environment for athletes in order to prepare for a return to conference seasons.

“We will have single entry and exits in the Athletic Training and weight room facilities, we have a strict sign up process to ensure that we stay under the recommended COVID capacity, we are taking temperatures prior to every practice, and we are enforcing social distancing and masking,” said Dehring.

All of these precautions are set in place to ensure that athletes, despite not having a season, still have access to all of the accommodations Alma has to offer. Even though athletes are not competing, they still have the ability to safely use the Athletic Training room as well as the weight room.

Despite athletes returning to campus under new regulations that have prohibited them from competing, it has not fully limited how they can practice.

Alma’s Head Football Coach Jason Couch said, “We are not currently practicing. We are hoping to begin socially distanced practices starting the week of Sept. 7. Hopefully, the college will secure enough tests to test student-athletes and coaches weekly. If all goes well, we could have full-contact practices in October.”

Similar to football, many sports teams have been unable to return to their normal practices due to full-contact being prohibited and social distancing required. However, practice has started for some sports as long as they adhere to the necessary guidelines. If teams continue to obey mask wearing and new regulations, conference competitions in the spring look possible.

“Being six feet apart at all times means we are not allowed to stunt or do pyramids or basket tosses, so we practice stunting by using exercise bands and holding our own shoes to mimic stunting with a person. We are able to tumble, jump, work on choreography/motions and condition, which all have been things we’ve needed to work on as a team for years, so Covid-19 has forced us to work on our weaknesses!” said Olivia Manke(‘21).

Many teams have worked hard to overcome the changes coronavirus has had on the basic structures of their season and practices. Students are coping with losing their seasons, but coaches have also had to experience watching their players go through this issue.

“I think we all went through a period of disappointment and frustration, but we can’t control it and have to learn to move past those things we can’t control. My heart aches for the seniors,” said Coach Couch.

Despite not having a fall season, the postponement of sports has pointed toward a packed spring season full of not only all of the fall sports, but the spring sports as well. Football aims to have a five-game conference in the spring, while many spring sports hope to have a full season, which was cut short at the beginning of the coronavirus.

This pandemic and postponement of sports has helped a lot of athletes have a new perspective on their sports and seasons.

“When you find yourself thinking, ‘when is practice going to be over’ remember back to when the whole season was over before we were all expecting and wishing you could practice with your team one more time!” said Manke.

Alma College has made it clear that ultimately it comes down to the students and their compliance to ensuring the safety of all. If students maintain social distancing guidelines and wear a mask, the possibility of sports being able to compete in the spring remains on the table.

“We are all in this together. Mask up, social distance, stay safe, and use this fall as an opportunity to better yourself in your sport and in the classroom. One day we will compete again and the Scots will be prepared!”

Athletic Director, Sarah Dehring

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