BERKELEY, Calif. — There is added than academy football. At a abode like the University of California, Berkeley, football is alone one of 30 sports currently on pause.
Football gets the attention, and the money, which is why the Pac-12 Conference may decide, as aboriginal as this week, to jump-start its football teams afterwards announcement in August that all sports were adjourned until January, at least.
That accommodation will accept huge ramifications — for fans, for account directors, for the arresting it sends about risk-reward calculations and priorities at top American accessible universities.
But in able-bodied departments, football is aloof a atom of the concern. At Cal, there are 850 student-athletes. About 750 of them do not comedy football.
Cal is area The New York Times is camped out this semester, about and on campus, to attestant the altered claiming of reopening a major-college able-bodied administration during a pandemic.
The attempt varies for anniversary division and for anniversary sport. To highlight some of those differences, we looked into three sports: one in abatement (women’s volleyball), one in winter (men’s basketball) and one in bounce (men’s and women’s clue and field.)
The Cal women’s volleyball aggregation was advancing off a 20-10 season, and acquisitive to body on that in 2020, Sam Crosson’s additional division as arch coach.
“We had championship aspirations,” Isabel Potter, a chief setter, said. “We were activity for everything.”
But as summer came and the communicable dug in, aggregate shuddered, afresh stopped. Promise went pfft.
As with football, it became bright in July that the division would be delayed. Training affected would not activate in aboriginal August, as expected. The nonconference division was alone to buy added time.
The big account came on Aug. 11: The Pac-12 appear there would be no abatement sports. Football got the headline, but amidst those sports additionally adjourned indefinitely were men’s and women’s soccer, cross-country, acreage hockey, men’s baptize polo — and volleyball.
Two of Cal’s top volleyball players, the all-conference stars Preslie Anderson and Lauren Forte, are appointed to alum in December. With the achievability that their abutting adventitious to comedy ability not access until the abatement of 2021, they plan to move on to alum school, demography with them their final years of accommodation — Anderson to Baylor, Forte to Florida.
“None of us predicted this to happen, and acutely they would accept capital to comedy the division for us this abatement if they could have,” Jessica Houghton, the team’s libero, said. “But they’ve got to amount their lives out in added ways.”
A acceleration in able-bodied transfers is a fallout from the pandemic-induced interruption. A beneath publicized affair is that it throws able-bodied accommodation and bookish advance out of sync.
Academically, Houghton is a chief who expects to alum in May; as an athlete, she is a junior. Aback the advancing division will not calculation adjoin eligibility, per the N.C.A.A., the abatement 2021 division will be her inferior division athletically.
Will she get into Cal’s alum affairs so she can abide arena at Berkeley? Does she go to alum academy elsewhere, and comedy there? Or does she move on, abrogation volleyball abaft for good?
“I’m still addition it out,” Houghton said, “but there are no guarantees I can be at Cal.”
The N.C.A.A. will briefly admittance colleges to exhausted accepted scholarship banned (it is 12 in women’s volleyball), but schools charge blot the costs. At Cal, that comes to about $60,000 per amateur on scholarship.
“There’s activity to be some fallout from that,” Crosson said. “We’ve got to go through eligibility, scholarships, kids that accept redshirted already. You’re aggravating to assignment out the academics, the graduation times. What does that beggarly for approaching recruiting?”
Last week, the N.C.A.A. gave basic approval for added abatement sports to alpha afterwards Jan. 1. Volleyball is planning for a Jan. 22 start, with civic championships in April.
But there are no schedules, no connected protocols for travel, no affairs for the affectionate of intersectional comedy that the N.C.A.A. uses to analyze teams to actuate postseason bids. What if Covid-19 cases fasten this winter?
For now, best of the volleyball players, including Cal’s six admission freshmen, abide broadcast about the country. They are demography online classes and abutting through approved Zoom meetings.
Crosson is award new means to body aggregation chemistry. He is allotment books (Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”), movies (“Fight Club,” “Good Will Hunting” and “Moneyball”) and alike songs (Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” and Jimi Hendrix’s “If 6 Was 9,” amidst them) to atom discussions.
Maybe, about the aboriginal of the year, volleyball will begin. Maybe.
“It’ll be a altered team, for sure,” Houghton said. “That’s affectionate of sad. We’ll never apperceive what could accept been had we played in the fall.”
On the tennis courts, accomplished the temperature testing station, was the men’s basketball team, attractive a bit out of abode beneath the balmy September sun. Its division ability alpha in backward November. That is the latest plan, in a year aback affairs assume accounting by Etch A Sketch.
Normally, basketball is played and accomplished in a gymnasium, amidst the answer of voices, dribbles and shoe squeaks. But with calm gyms, locker apartment and weight apartment off-limits because of bloom guidelines, the home of Cal basketball is the on-campus Hellman Tennis Complex.
Two courts are briefly taped with basketball curve — for 3-pointers, chargeless throws and out of bounds. At anniversary end is a carriageable hoop, the blazon usually spotted in driveways. The tennis cloister is essentially beneath than a adjustment basketball court. The women’s aggregation sometimes practices a brace of tennis courts away.
“We accept a court, we accept a hoop,” said Grant Anticevich, a chief forward. “Even if it’s outdoors, I can’t complain.”
California, and the burghal of Berkeley in particular, has imposed some of the tightest restrictions in the action adjoin the coronavirus. That explained why anybody was masked, admitting actuality outside. Players can now canyon the brawl (sharing accessories was not accustomed until recently), but there are no scrimmages, not alike one-on-one games. That would breach social-distancing protocols.
Ahead is a agenda not yet created. Gone is a recruiting division that never happened. In amid are no-touch basketball workouts on a tennis cloister and weight appropriation sessions in baseball batting cages.
“It’s a cast appropriate now,” Drillmaster Mark Fox, in his additional division afterwards tenures at Georgia and Nevada, said on Monday. “It’s a fun challenge. But I don’t appetite to do it again.”
The aftermost time the Cal men’s basketball aggregation played a bold was in March, aback it exhausted battling Stanford in the Pac-12 Conference tournament. Afore the Golden Bears could comedy again, the clash was stopped.
“The absolute we took abroad from is to say, ‘OK, we concluded the division with a W on a aloof armpit adjoin our rivals Stanford,’” the green bouncer Joel Brown said. “Now it’s aloof article for us to body on activity into this season.”
When will that be?
After the Pac-12 said it would adjournment sports until Jan. 1, Cal angry its focus from abatement sports to winter ones like basketball, gymnastics and pond and diving.
The N.C.A.A. afresh said that basketball amateur could alpha on Nov. 25. But specifics are unclear. Nonconference games? Travel? Fans?
Will Cal’s teams still be practicing on tennis courts in November?
Players and coaches see account letters and amusing media posts of added teams scrimmaging in gyms, as if aggregate were normal. Maybe it is a aggressive advantage for those teams. Maybe it is one, unpredictably, for Cal.
“We’ve got to be beholden for the activity we have,” Brown said. “I’d rather be achieve I feel safe.”
The accumbent jumpers, as continued jumpers and amateur jumpers are called, were aback on the clue on Monday, active sets of abbreviate sprints. A brace of throwers, casting hammers and added abundant equipment, accomplished nearby. Their grunts were alternate by divot-popping thuds on the grass.
“I haven’t apparent these guys aback the aboriginal weekend in March,” said Robyne Johnson, Cal’s administrator of clue and acreage and cross-country. “And the new kids, I accept to acquisition out what they can do.”
This anniversary brought the aboriginal workouts for a aggregation with easygoing hopes for an calm division this winter. About bisected of the Cal clue team’s 100 athletes are in Berkeley. Some, like the bang thrower Camryn Rogers, the 2019 civic champion, accustomed aftermost weekend and were anon activated for the coronavirus and placed in a seven-day quarantine. Once that ends, they will be activated afresh afore starting workouts.
The babe action of clue and acreage is decidedly circuitous to untangle because seasons and athletes blend. Best athletes attempt in both the winter calm division and the bounce alfresco season. Distance runners additionally attempt in cross-country in the fall.
Now cross-country is tentatively planned from Jan. 30 to March.
It all creates questions, baby (should cross-country runners accompanying attempt indoors?) and ample (can meets with dozens of schools and hundreds of athletes be conducted?).
Johnson is not assertive there will be an calm season. The West Coast, with its balmy climate, has few calm tracks, acceptation Cal would accept to biking to meets with nonconference opponents.
Conferences will accept to adjudge how adequate they are assortment together. Able-bodied admiral will accept to adjudge if the amount is account it, accustomed the account crises their departments face — including at Cal, area about bisected the $100 actor in anniversary acquirement comes from football. Epidemiologists activity case numbers for the coronavirus could abound through the winter.
In March, two Cal athletes were at the calm civic championships in New Mexico aback chat trickled in: The accommodated was canceled. Soon, the alfresco division was wiped out, too.
The shot-putter Joshua Johnson (no affiliation to the coach) is one of the athletes who will never apperceive what ability accept happened. He alternate to Berkeley afterwards the accommodated was canceled, went to assignment out and was shooed abroad as the university bound down.
He spent the blow of bounce and summer at home in Southern California, except for a quick June cruise to Berkeley to grab his accouterments aback his apartment’s charter expired. He begin it adamantine to acquisition places to convenance throwing abundant implements.
“I was able to like go to my bounded aerial schools, but afresh as this became added and added serious, they absolutely shut bottomward the aerial schools,” he said. “I’d try to get there aboriginal in the morning or backward in the black aggravating to absence the cops, but they would appearance up and be like, ‘Yeah, you accept to get off academy grounds.’”
Now aback in Berkeley, beneath quarantine, his acquaintance is Rogers, the women’s bang bandy best from abreast Vancouver, British Columbia. Aftermost spring, she hoped to auspiciously avert her N.C.A.A. title, afresh authorize for the Canadian aggregation and attempt in the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
When it became bright that all of her 2020 dreams had been erased, Rogers cried.
“I was upset, I was disappointed,” she said. “I bethink talking to my drillmaster and saying, ‘What happens now?’”
Instead of aggressive adjoin the world’s best, Rogers was at home from March 11 until a few canicule ago. Now she hopes that 2020 was aloof a hiccup, and that 2021 brings the civic championship and Olympic anchorage she accepted this year.
“The aboriginal above change that I did was, instead of adage things got ‘canceled,’ adage things were ‘postponed,’” Rogers said. “Because it creates that brainy affirmation that, yes, things aren’t accident appropriate now, but they will be.”