Club sports at TCU are in somewhat of a tricky situation this fall. Some of the clubs play their competitive season in the Spring and only have to worry about coordinating practices around COVID-19 guidelines, but for those sports such as club soccer and ice hockey, their season will be postponed until the spring.
Unfortunate times call for unfortunate circumstances and the coronavirus pandemic will certainly cause difficulties for numerous club athletes this year. Each club has their own unique guidelines, but for the majority no competition will be played this fall. One club in particular, the Ultimate Frisbee team, was granted permission by the university to play scrimmages against other schools within 60 miles. Hey, at least it’s something. Though it is a shame Baylor falls just past 60 miles from Fort Worth.
I spoke with Mary Ellen Milam, the associate director of programs for the TCU Rec, about how teams will go about practicing this semester. “The general guidelines for the programs involve wearing masks during all club events and practices,” said Milam, “Most clubs are focusing on individual skill development and drills this fall, as opposed to scrimmages.”
Possibly the biggest difference in this upcoming season is that all club teams will be required to take attendance at every event for contact tracing purposes; which could go a long way on a small college campus like TCU. As one would expect, athletes will be required to wear a face mask at all times when they are not playing.
A huge negative is that numerous athletes will be handling the same equipment whether it be a hockey stick, baseball, or soccer ball; these athletes are going to have to sanitize, sanitize, and sanitize some more throughout the season.
Some club presidents weighed in on the situation as well: “The hope is that individuals will work on their own outside of practice” said Men’s Ultimate Frisbee president Kyle Wanda, “We are hoping to make practices as normal as possible though we can’t do everything we used to be able to.”
The hope is that the guidelines put in place will allow for clubs to return to normal in the spring.
This season club athletes could end up utilizing zoom if there is no way to properly practice social distancing as many of the NCAA teams have done during the long drought away from campus. Sadly the club sports season won’t be nearly as exciting for anyone this season thanks to COVID-19, but at least the Horned Frog community has a nearly-full football season to look forward to this fall.
Though Horned Frog club sports are often overshadowed by NCAA programs that generate public interest and revenue such as football and basketball, club sports are very important for the Horned Frog community. Some of the many benefits of club athletics include: Giving students who previously found an identity as an athlete an outlet to compete without joining an NCAA team, giving the university exposure up to the national level, and also serving as a unique network for alumni. I believe these programs deserve more attention for everything they do for and with the university.