By Aubrey Drohner, Mackenzie Morey, & Meghan Finger
No one could have imagined the impact COVID-19 would have on today’s society, especially the sports world. In March of 2020, practices, games, and tournaments were all canceled in the blink of an eye. Athletic administrators and coaches did not know when players would step on the field next.
At the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, COVID-19 has affected all sports in some way. However, protocols and procedures were put in place to ensure that staff, coaches, and players followed the proper guidelines. Most teams were separated into groups or pods for practicing and COVID testing. Coaches’ meetings with administrators took place virtually through Zoom or other web-conference applications. Games were played with masks on, limited contact, and no fans. The athletic department has made an effort to limit community exposure with the student-athletes by providing a separate weight room specifically for the athletes to do their team weight training exercises. The sports teams were also removed from their locker rooms to maintain that social distance throughout the remaining school year.
Students-athletes have pushed themselves to continue to represent UW-Green Bay athletics in the best ways possible. UWGB Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach Mike Kline explains this, “The athletes have adapted–it’s a change.” Team effort throughout the pandemic has been tremendous, and spirits have remained high. “My team, we’re lucky. We got to be together the whole semester.” There have been struggles and challenges but are faced head-on. “I tell my team to look at how fortunate we are,” states Coach Mike Kline. “Some schools do not have the option to be on campus and be together as a team.” The UW-Green Bay athletic department has provided ample resources for student-athletes, such as socially distanced study tables and COVID-19 tests to ensure healthy teammates.
The University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s Athletic Department and the Kress Recreational Center’s administration has made substantial efforts to make the 2020-2021 year as usual as it can get for the athletes and fans while living through a global pandemic. UWGB’s Director of Athletics, Charles Guthrie, explains his visions and what to expect for the upcoming sports seasons. “We are planning as if to have fans, and we are anticipating having fans, but a guest list for the student-athletes is something we may not have for the upcoming seasons due to NCAA and Horizon League restrictions.”
UWGB is working diligently towards the upcoming 2021-2022 season.