YU Athletics Announces Plans for 2020-21 Season
Director of Athletics and Recreation Joe Bednarsh announced Yeshiva University’s plans for its sports teams for the upcoming 2020-21 season via email on July 9. Following direction from medical experts, coaches and the NCAA’s Skyline Conference, nearly all teams have had their regular season altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both women’s and men’s soccer teams and the women’s volleyball squad will not partake in the Skyline Conference season, but hope to have some form of “limited competition.” Meanwhile, women’s and men’s cross country and golf teams have been given a full go-ahead and will begin their season following students’ return to campus in Oct. with no known changes. The women’s tennis team’s season was moved to the spring and plans to compete in the league.
Although their seasons begin in the spring, the softball, baseball and men’s tennis teams traditionally start practice in the fall. As such, all off-season practices have been suspended. Men’s volleyball is also a spring sport, but at the moment there are no expected changes to their program.
Bednarsh stated that decisions were made on a case-by-case basis, the main factors being if the sport involved contact or lent itself to social distancing, the necessity of sharing equipment between players and if there is “enough time to complete conference competition after following the appropriate return to play protocols.”
These changes have been deemed necessary by many student-athletes, but some are still irritated. “We all know that YU has made the best decision regarding our health. However we still feel very frustrated. We want to play,” shared Men’s Soccer Captain Isaac Bendahan (YC ‘21).
Beyond the immediate future, Bednarsh shared in his email that winter sports like basketball and fencing have an “uncertain start date.” This development will undoubtedly leave many fans uneasy following the men’s basketball team’s successful conference championship victory and unprecedented winning-streak at the NCAA D3 tournament in March. The tournament was abruptly cut short due to the coronavirus outbreak, which left the Maccabees hanging their hopes on next season.
“Honestly, I think we are living one day at a time here and waiting to see what happens. Things seem to change constantly,” Head Men’s Basketball Coach Elliot Steinmetz told The Commentator. “It will likely come down to NCAA and conference decisions on how many games are played and when they start. Obviously, we are excited about the team we have coming into this season and are hopeful we will get the opportunity to compete. But at the same time, life is about perspective, and we recognize the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of safety and health for our athletes, coaches and fans.”
“I do feel that we could have a regular season because overall fencing is a pretty socially distant sport,” shared Adina Passy (SCW ‘21), the captain of the women’s fencing team. “It is very rare that you are closer than six feet to someone for longer than a minute. But I am very happy that we are even getting back at all and really look forward to being with my teammates again.”
Bednarsh added, “we will continue to evaluate the most current information and consult with experts in the field as we strive to provide the safest quality athletic experience to our dedicated student-athletes.”
Photo Caption: The Max Stern Athletic Center court, shot before campuses closed
Photo Credit: Akiva Poppers