Bowdoin’s spring athletic teams will likely not compete during the spring semester, Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan announced in an email to all student athletes on Thursday. Fall and winter teams will also not compete during the spring semester, with the possible exception of Nordic Skiing, given that it involves exclusively outdoor competition. However, according to the email, this outcome also remains “highly unlikely.”
In an interview with the Orient, White explained that he had decided to send the announcement on Thursday in order to give student-athletes updated information about the possibilities surrounding the spring season before they had to make final choices about enrollment for next semester.
“It was about six weeks ago when we provided some initial thoughts on the winter and spring seasons, and so as people are getting information today about classes and the campus community agreement, [we wanted] to provide an update,” Ryan said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “And then I think we would likely be able to provide another update sometime in mid-to-late January as we get a little close to the start of the spring semester.”
In his email, Ryan did note that the NESCAC had not yet made an official determination regarding spring conference scheduling and championships. He also wrote that, should there be any competition in the spring, it would be “very limited and local” and only among institutions “with similar COVID[-19] testing programs.”
Attached to the email was an updated list of frequently asked questions about the athletic department’s COVID-19-adjusted plans. The questions and answers expanded on the contents of the email, including the protocols for safe athletic practice under state COVID-19 guidelines.
Ryan explained that he expects spring teams to begin their season by practicing indoors, as per usual, but scheduling will depend on Maine’s COVID-19 regulations.
“Typically, our lacrosse teams and our baseball and softball teams have practices in [William] Farley [Field House] until they can get outside, so it wouldn’t be a dramatic shift from what we normally do,” Ryan said. “There are limitations in place right now in Maine in terms of the number of people who can participate in an indoor athletic activity at the same time, so we’ll have to take that into account when we schedule things, but using Farley for a whole host of different purposes with various programs won’t be a new exercise for us this spring.”
Ryan said that, if there is no competition season in the spring, teams will be prioritized equally for practice time, regardless of the season during which they typically compete. However, if spring teams are able to compete, they will have priority for scheduling facility use.
Ryan said that he had not yet heard about athletes making enrollment decisions related to predictions about athletics during the spring semester, but he hoped the email would help people feel as informed as possible as the November 30 deadline approaches.
“A lot of the feedback that we’ve heard at this point has just been a wait-and-see approach, to see the additional information that was going to come from the College and that students would be making decisions over the next seven to 10 days about their plans,” Ryan said. “We just wanted to make sure that we would be providing as much information as we could so they could make as informed of a decision as possible.”