TCCAA suspends all spring sports through March 31
Though Dyersburg State spring sports teams -- the baseball Eagles and Lady Eagle softball -- held at least a share of first place coming into this weekend's scheduled games, Dyersburg State teams will have to wait until at least the end of the month before taking the field again as the TCCAA has suspended all spring sports through March 31.
The announcement was made on the TCCAA website on Thursday night that read:
"With the pandemic outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the TCCAA has suspended all spring athletic events through March 31. The Tennessee Board of Regents, PAC President Dr. Chris Whaley, and TCCAA Commissioner Dr. Foster Chason have been monitoring the situation in the state and worldwide. It is their decision that our student athletes' care and safety are and will always be top priority. At the end of the month, the Presidents will meet and review to decide what to do moving forward on April 1."
Dyersburg State athletic Director David Anderson talked about the decision that was made by the TCCAA in regard to the safety of the student athletes, coaches and others involved in community college athletics.
"So many things have happened fast this week on a national level that once larger organizations in sports started cancelling things -- cases of players of having the virus -- just everything that was going on, I think the presidents did a good job getting together and deciding what was best for the athletes and the colleges all together as well as Dr. Chason and all the athletic directors in the league," Anderson said. "It's really unfortunate. My heart hurts for the players and the coaches. But, major safety precautions are being taken worldwide and we have to follow suit, I think."
Anderson also talked about impact on both the sports and the school.
"Currently, all sports are suspended from spring play," the DSCC athletic director said. "We have suspended practice as well. This is a fluid situation, changes daily and we get new information daily. But, as of now, baseball and softball are suspended through March 31. And, who knows what will happen between now and then. We'll just keep the information coming daily."
Dyersburg State Baseball was set to host a three-game series this week with Volunteer State as the Eagles are 15-7 with a 5-1 mark in the TCCAA standings. Through six conference games, the Eagles are tied for first with Walters State. DSCC head coach Robert White talked about the effect the suspension of play will have on his team's season.
"I don't necessarily know how it's going to affect our season," White said. "You never know how long this is going to last. Hopefully, we can get back on the field in a couple weeks and get back to playing baseball. Hopefully, continue to be successful."
White also kept things in perspective as to the purpose of the current suspension of play.
"I think our number one thing is the safety of our student athletes and our students here at Dyersburg State," the DSCC head coach said. "We'll just see where this goes from here. When we get the word from the NJCAA, the TBR and Dyersburg State, we'll move forward from there."
For the Eagles, the suspension affects nine conference games (three-game series with Volunteer State, Jackson State and at Motlow State) as well as six more non-conference games (doubleheaders with Bethel JV, Rhodes JV and Three Rivers College). Needless to say, the TCCAA games being missed are crucial but it can be hard to make these games up as the conference schedule is set on the weekend and runs through the last weekend of the season.
Currently, the TCCAA/NJCAA Region 7 Tournament is set to begin on April 29 in Gallatin, leaving very little time to make up games missed by the suspension.
"That's still up in the air, too," White said. "The conference -- the TCCAA -- will make the determination on whether we will be able to make these games up or not. Everything is still pretty premature. I think they're taking their time and making sure the student athletes and the students are the number one priority.
Then, after all the dust settles, then we'll sit down and look at our options. I think they'll do what's best for our students."
Softball is similarly affected as the Lady Eagles, who are currently tied for first place in the TCCAA standings with Volunteer State -- their scheduled opponent for this weekend -- will have a total of 12 conference games and four more out of conference affected by the suspension of play.
"Our main concern is to make sure our student athletes are in a safe environment," Dyersburg State head softball coach George White added, echoing the safety concerns for the players and everyone else involved in the college athletics.