By Justin Rimpi and Anthony Covino
Managing Editor and Sports Editor
The NCAA in March canceled the remainder of the spring sports seasons, which included baseball, softball, golf, tennis, track and field, and the rest of the Northeast Conference tournament for women’s basketball.
The NCAA opted to give spring athletes an extra year of eligibility after their seasons got canceled.
The Equinox interviewed Brad Hurlbut, the athletic director at FDU, via email, and asked his thoughts on the pandemic and the ramifications it has on FDU athletics, its employees, its athletes, and all the programs.
Equinox: What were your thoughts when you heard about the decision by the NCAA to allow spring sports athletes to have an extra year of eligibility? Do you feel like it was the correct one?
Hurlbut: I was pleased and believe that it was the right decision to allow individual campuses to decide whether or not to allow senior spring sport athletes an additional year of eligibility.
Equinox: Do you know if the NEC is pondering the approach in which the Ivy League took — which was to deny senior athletes an extra year of eligibility?
Hurlbut: The NEC President [Noreen Morris] supported allowing each of its member institutions to decide on allowing an extra year of eligibility to spring sport senior student-athletes.
Equinox: What are the financial ramifications of this decision for FDU? How will the department allocate resources to spring sports athletes that may be on campus for another season?
Hurlbut: We have allowed our head coaches to make the decision on whether or not to invite a senior spring sport student-athlete back for another season. The one stipulation was that there could be no increase in their allotted scholarship budgets.
Equinox: What impact do you believe this decision will have on athletes that already committed to play at FDU? If the NCAA were to allow athletes to renege on their letter of intent, do you believe this would have an adverse impact on the state of FDU Athletics for years to come?
Hurlbut: I don’t believe the decision will have much of an impact on athletics at FDU.
Equinox: Is there anything else you would like to add regarding FDU Athletics during this time of such uncertainty?
Hurlbut: Our External Affairs department, along with our coaches and student-athletes, has done a terrific job with social-media posts and keeping our current as well as future student-athletes engaged and informed. I would also like to commend Commissioner Morris and her staff at the NEC for keeping us all up-to-date on the everchanging NCAA landscape.
When this pandemic ends, FDU athletics and athletes will have decisions to make regarding their teams and their finances. Both men’s and women’s basketball have already started recruiting for next season as the roster-building is essential for both teams. Coaches and athletes will have to work from home for now, but when the pandemic ends, it will be time to get back to work at FDU in preparation for the upcoming season.