Opinion: NCAA premature in cancelling spring sports, impacts baseball in a big way

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FILE – In this June 26, 2019, file photo, Vanderbilt players celebrate after defeating Michigan to win Game 3 of the NCAA College World Series baseball finals in Omaha, Neb. The Commodores won their second national championship since 2014, beating Michigan in the College World Series finals. Vanderbilt’s 59 wins set a Southeastern Conference record. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- Sports have come to a standstill in the United States and across the world. From professional leagues to college athletics, almost everything has been either postponed or canceled.

While I agree with putting events on pause, I don’t agree with one decision made by the NCAA. With the timing of COVID-19, it was almost impossible to go on with March Madness, cancelling the men’s and women’s tournament, while tough, is understandable. But when NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships, I immediately got sick to my stomach.

You mean to tell me that the entire spring sports calendar for college athletics, is wiped clean? In my opinion, this was a premature move by the NCAA, just to use the word ‘canceled.’ I know that there are a lot of unknowns right now with COVID-19 and some say the virus could even peak in May and June, but those aren’t facts right, just thoughts.

On Friday, the NCAA announced it will grant spring student athletes relief for a season of eligibility. I applaud this decision, but lets not be simpleminded. For some athletes, missing a majority of the season can be a game changer when it comes to preparing for the next level.

The sport that first pops into my mind is college baseball. First of all it’s mind blowing to think about no College World Series in Omaha. Maybe it’s because I experienced it first hand last year when the Vanderbilt Commodores hoisted the hardware, it’s a special place and the city takes great pride in hosting it every single season. In fact, Omaha was supposed to host the 2020 MLB draft around the time of the CWS, something I think many baseball fans were excited to see.

That brings me back to the point I was trying to make about flat out canceling a majority of the college baseball season. While it stinks for some of these young kids, who ultimately want to win a national championship, there are also those players who use a season to prepare for the pros.

I cover Vanderbilt baseball here in Nashville, and if the season does not resume, that means an abrupt end for several players who are eligible for 2020 MLB Draft. Some of these Vandy Boys are already projected in the top 120 picks, some are not, but all of them want the opportunity to boost their draft stock and right now it looks like they won’t be able to do that.

Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin is expected to speak to the media within the next several days, and I look forward to hearing his thoughts because I can imagine there a lot of them running around in his head.

At the moment, many coaches around the country are still trying to process everything that unfolded within the last few days and ultimately we all ask the question, does NCAA reverse its decision to bring back a spring sports? I honestly don’t know, but maybe if Mr. Emmert and his Board of Governors would’ve just used the word ‘postponed’ instead of ‘cancel’ it could have at least given everyone a little hope we need it the most.

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