The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus has caused a simultaneous pause in sporting events across the entire world. From the cancellation of March Madness, to the suspension of the NBA season, the world of basketball has taken a huge hit from the virus.
On March 12, it was announced that the American Athletic Conference would cancel its tournament right before the start of the first game. The East Carolina University (11-20, 5-13 AAC) men’s basketball team was scheduled to play the University of Memphis (21-10, 10-8 AAC), but the Pirates were unable to battle the Tigers as a result.
Once the NBA began to take necessary precautions for the safety of both players and fans, the NCAA followed suit. Eventually, basketball, among all other sports, had been suspended until further notice.
“I think it puts things in perspective. There’s bigger things than sports,” head coach Joe Dooley said. “But from a sporting standpoint, it just shows you how quickly things can turn.”
According to Dooley, the team has not been able to hold practices or workouts since the abrupt end to the season. With ECU converting all classes online and cancelling sports for the rest of the year, most athletes have returned to their hometowns to do their part in staying safe. It's not an easy task keeping a team together and focused without face-to-face meetings, but teams are finding ways to stay in touch.
“We do text and keep in contact with our guys,” Dooley said. “We’ll FaceTime and do all that other stuff. I guess guys are also using Skype and Zoom, that is how football is preparing for spring practice.”
Student-athletes are encouraged to focus on their studies as well as staying in shape. While ECU athletics are temporarily suspended, online classes will require more attention from students. Dooley encourages his team to stay ahead both in their athletics and academics.
“The biggest concern is obviously making sure our guys stay on top of their academics,” Dooley said. “With just about all the facilities shut down, when they do have free time, they could do some lifting and shooting on their own.”
The impact of the virus is still unknown concerning the next season of basketball for the Pirates, but it is important for all athletes to stay safe and stay prepared for their next opportunity to compete.