There is still optimism around both programs, and with BGSU hockey being a winter sport slated to start on Oct. 9, both programs are still treating it as if the season is a go.
“The biggest thing is business as usual. We don’t know when it is going to happen, but I want to be prepared for if it happens. If we go into it saying . . . we aren’t going to have a season and we do, then we won’t be prepared. My biggest thing now is preparing us as if we are having a season,” BGSU Men’s Basketball Head Coach Michael Huger said.
However, while being prepared is great, that task is even more difficult than normal with the struggles of the pandemic. Women’s Basketball Head Coach Robyn Fralick and her team know it is important to keep improving despite the challenges of the pandemic.
“We really feel like we can continue to build. That can look different, but we always have a chance to build. What’s in front of us everyday, that could be our fitness, our skill level, our togetherness, our leadership. Even during these really challenging times we still feel like we have been able to have the ability to get better,” she said.
But a big fear for many student-athletes around the world is this work could be for nothing, which is why many believe work has to be done to make a season possible, so the sacrifices made can be worth it.
“So for the sacrifice that my guys have to make of doing things the right way and not going out to parties and not going out to bars and things like that, I think that’s a big sacrifice and I think they should be rewarded with the opportunity to play,” Huger said.
Fralick knows the term “sacrifice” doesn’t just apply to recent times either. In many cases, college athletes have worked hard for the opportunity to play in the normal year.
“I just want it for my kids. It is just such a great piece of your experience. You know getting to play college athletics is something that you have worked very hard for over the journey of your life and to get here and to have that opportunity I really want it from them. I just think it’s such an important piece of their experience here,” she said.
But this type of discipline and sacrifice during a pandemic is something almost no one has had to deal with.
Being cautious has been taken to a new level for many around the world, and that includes athletes that want to have a season. But temptations can still be present, and now with more students on campus those temptations could grow.
“All the students are back. When we had them in the summer it was just the teams, just the sports teams. Us, football, volleyball were back. It’s just such a smaller group that you can control that. Now with the students back it is so easy and tempting to go out and hang out and party with them and gather in large groups and now somebody could get sick and they bring that back to the team,” Huger said.
As we know though, everything doesn’t rest solely in their hands.
And the prospect that the same conference making this decision, the MAC, made the decision to postpone the fall football season doesn’t sit well with many hoping for a season.
But Huger notes basketball is much different than football, especially in terms of numbers.
“As far as arenas and stadiums, stadiums hold way more. There is going to be more people around, more following, more gathering. Basketball is more controlled, we can control 15 guys more so than 100. So that is the problem that they have with football and they just didn’t see that happening,” he said.
Huger believes we should know more around Sept. 16.
And with many other winter sports, including hockey–– waiting on college basketball’s decision can’t come soon enough.
“For the mindset, just what we’ve been going through with the pandemic, being locked up basically for six weeks, or six months and not being able to do anything. Then you slowly open up and certain things close back up and now you get them on campus and now it is like we can play and you can’t play and then someone gets sick and everything gets shut down. It’s just so bad for the mindset right now of not knowing,” he said.
The MAC season is slated to start on Dec. 30 for the women and Jan. 2 for the men. The only thing both teams can do is prepare for a season that is still largely unknown.