Things are a bit different as we start the spring term here at LBCC. Not only for students, but for staff and everyone involved with the school. The new respiratory virus COVID-19, or coronavirus in the mainstream media, has taken the world by storm. Events terminated, gatherings canceled, schools moving to online all for the sake of stopping the spread of the virus to others.
With the LBCC campus closed for the term, one part of our school that has taken a considerable hit from all of this is our sports department, as the NWAC has canceled all spring sports, including baseball. This is a huge blow to many of the programs and faculty at all schools in the NWAC, and it will be interesting to see how everyone copes in such a unique and unprecedented time.
“There are fewer ‘to-do’s’, but we have a whole new set of things to deal with that are medium and long term,” said Linn-Benton Athletic Director Mark Majeski, “There’s been a shift to focusing on strategic planning.”
Some things Majeski and his colleagues have done in this time is meeting via Zoom, the online calling platform, while discussing what needs to be looked over as if it was a meeting at school, as most other staff members are doing as well. While the change is new for most, Majeski admits it’ll be better for them in the long run. For the athletes and coaches, it’s a tough pill to swallow. Baseball players here at LB, along with coach Peterson, were ready to build on a stellar season yet those chances have been washed away. Even though the season is gone, the NWAC has followed other institutions like the NCAA in allowing all spring athletes an extra year of eligibility.
“The virus has changed everything. We’ve moved to using texts, calls and videos to keep recruiting going. There’s still some field work to be had, with on-going renovations still being done.”
For coaches, their job shifted from hands on tutoring that goes on in practice and workouts, to an online system. They’re staying in contact with student-athletes, and helping them with skills, practice, and nutrition as much as possible, while of course guiding them through their online courses as best they can. One thing that has proceeded through all of this is the recruiting process, which Majeski says has proceeded through call, text and email, while current commits are being talked to as well. While some schools have needed to halt recruiting, it is nice to see a school on the junior college level commit to the student athletes that have committed to them or kept them on their radar. Coach Petersen himself is staying optimistic with his players.
“Some of our guys have been in college for a few years and don’t get to be with their family much, so it’s a blessing in disguise to get this much time with loved ones. With homework and the home workouts being sent, they’ll stay busy,” said Baseball Head Coach Andy Peterson.
In other news, athletics posted yet another impressive stat by placing 26 student athletes on honor roll, an impressive 35% of the student-athlete body. With 17 being on the baseball team, coach Peterson’s stress on doing well in the classroom has clearly paid off.
It is surely a time of uncertainty, but the department and its staff clearly has a plan in motion for how to deal with the work using the resources they have. Coaches have been working diligently to continue helping their athletes, and the department has been working from home as if the offices were open. We all hope to stay healthy in such a confusing time, but the work Majeski and his crew are putting towards the department, even when the sports can’t be around is amazing, and shows how much our AD cares.