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COVID-19 and TCU Athletics: What We Know

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Here is all the information we have to this point about how the COVID-19 outbreak is effecting TCU Athletics.

TCU Basketball Selection Show | March 17, 2019 | Fort Worth, TX
It’s been a tough few days for TCU Administration, and hundreds of folks in athletics across the world.
Melissa Triebwasser

The news came down fast and furious late last week, and became hard to keep up with. Tournaments were delayed, expected to be held without fans, and then cancelled altogether. One minute, TCU Baseball was practicing as normal, the next their season was over as quickly as it began.

We will update you on what we know now, and continue to post to this article as more information comes out, over the next several weeks and months.

March 19, 2020:

Campus Concerns:

TCU has closed campus for the remainder of the school year and will go to a strictly online system through the conclusion of the spring semester.

March 16, 2020:

Campus Concerns:

TCU extended Spring Break next week and resume classes online beginning Monday, March 23 through Friday, April 3.

There are no cases of COVID-19 on the TCU campus, but there is a confirmed case nearby.

TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini said in a letter to the TCU community, “This action is being taken due to the rapid spread and unpredictable nature of this disease, which just today was designated as a pandemic by the World Health Organization.”

He said TCU leaders have a responsibility to the campus and community “to help ensure good health and decrease the potential impacts of COVID-19.”

TCU Football:

The Horned Frogs cancelled their spring game, scheduled for March 28th. Additionally, Pro Day was cancelled as many NFL teams have banned their scouts from traveling. Recruiting has also been put on hold, with a dead period being established that stretches from March 13th - April 15th. All on and off campus recruiting activity, including visits, evaluations, and in-person contacts ceased immediately, though offers can still be extended and commitments made.

TCU Men’s Basketball:

The TCU men lost their the opener of the Big 12 Tournament, and were awaiting word on an NIT bid. Of course, the NIT has been cancelled, as has the NCAA Tournament, effectively ending the careers of Desmond Bane, Jaire Grayer, and Edric Dennis. Bane, a likely NBA Draft pick this summer, has said his goodbye to Horned Frog Nation.

TCU Women’s Basketball:

This might be the most heartbreaking part of all of this; the TCU women, primed to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in ten years, lost an opportunity to compete in both the conference tournament — in which they were the number two seed — and March Madness. The best season in Raegan Pebley’s time in Fort Worth was cut painfully short, meaning that six seniors — Adeola Akomolafe, Michelle Berry, Jaycee Bradley, Elle Hellessey, Kianna Ray, and Jayde Woods — saw their season end before the postseason began. It’s a real gut-punch for a team that beat all odds, and a preseason seventh place prediction, to position themselves to not just get in The Big Dance, but win some games once they were there. With great shooting and toughness at every position, they would have been a really tough out for any opponent.

Additionally, the NCAA announced Sunday that they would not be announcing a ceremonial field of 64, denying the program a sense of closure and the opportunity to hang a banner forever acknowledging one of the best seasons in program history. Pebley was disappointed, but understanding. “There’s that date that goes up on a banner somewhere for those teams. It’s a group of seniors that, whenever they come back to campus, they see that date up on the wall and knew that everything that they worked for was recognized through that NCAA bid.”

There was one good memory made, though, and it went viral:

True Frog Fam, right there.

While spring athletes have been granted an additional season of eligibility, it’s unlikely the same grace will be extended to those that competed in a winter sport. That means a surprising end of a season for a truly special group of seniors.

We will have more on them in the coming days.

TCU Baseball:

While the athletics world was crumbling at their feet, TCU Baseball was... practicing.

It didn’t last long.

An announcement went out initially that the Frogs would play on, but with only limited family, essential personnel, and media in attendance. Then, the NCAA issued a decree that all championships had been cancelled, including the College World Series — scheduled for June. Shortly after, the Big Ten cancelled all team activities, meaning that the weekend series with Maryland was cancelled. Soon thereafter, the Big 12 followed suit.

One of the most promising baseball seasons in recent TCU history —- and that’s saying something — was over before it truly even began.

The NCAA quickly stepped in, though, and handed out a salve, extending an extra year of eligibility to all spring athletes. That means for seniors like Zach Humphreys, Haylen Green, Charles King, Austin Henry, Hunter Wolfe, Conner Shepherd, Gene Wood, and Dalton Brown, the opportunity to return to TCU Baseball next season exists. But, it presents a bunch of issues as well, especially in baseball, where programs only have 11.7 scholarships to hand out. Some players will be drafted highly and elect to leave, others may return for a master’s degree or one more shot at Omaha. What that means for younger players, waiting out their turn on the depth chart, remains to be seen. Jim Schlossnagle will be ready for it, too:

Other TCU Sports:

TCU was also competing in Track & Field, Rifle, Swim & Dive, and Beach Volleyball, among others. These athletes saw their seasons end as well, and some, their careers.