Winter athletics could be set to make a return if COVID-19 cases are kept under control.
With the fall season being cancelled earlier this year, many student-athletes had hopes that the winter season would resume. As King’s prepares to welcome students back, the resumption of the winter season looks promising so far.
“We are planning on rolling forward with a reduced winter season,” said Vice-Athletic Director, Trish Miles. Miles went on to say that basketball, badminton and volleyball are set to resume.
Although the season looks ready to resume come winter, Miles noted that the number of COVID-19 cases will play a large factor in resuming. “We will know more once we move through the first weeks of school,” said Miles. “We will learn from the amount of COVID cases”.
The dropping of some student fees does not mean there will be no funding for athletics, says to Athletic Director Neil Hooper. Hooper also noted that all athletic expenditures, such as costs of travel expenses to and from competitions will be handled like any other university expense. “There are not many good answers right now because we are dealing with too many unknowns,” said Hooper in relation to where the funding will be coming from.
Students who are unable to make a physical return to King’s due to COVID-19 concerns will not have to worry about their athletic scholarships. “[Athletic] scholarships will remain in place for those that have received them” said Miles.
UKC Men’s basketball player Noah Mutabaruka appreciates that athletic scholarships will remain in place despite the risk of no season being a possibility noting that every little bit helps especially during a time where employment isn’t guaranteed.
Aidan Badcock-Parks, recipient of the Deborah and Robert Little scholarship is grateful his scholarship will remain in place. “Ease of mind is an understatement when it comes to knowing my scholarship will still be honoured even if there isn’t athletics this year” said Badcock-Parks.
The gym has started to allow teams to begin practicing with proper COVID-19 restrictions in place. Bryce Mason, a member of the varsity badminton team, is excited to be back on court with his team. “It’s a large step in returning to normal for student athletes,” said Mason. “Being able to train on court with the team in hopes of a winter season will be great,”.
Mason is looking forward to seeing his teammates in person again after the extended break as well as welcoming the new players into the team. In addition to the gym allowing teams practice times, they have rolled out the first set of online workouts. The program is being run by performance coach Thomas Kochanoff and features guided YouTube tutorials for each workout. The program aims to keep student-athletes active from a remote setting.