CSCAA Head Calls Out Coaches for Emphasizing NCAA Championships During Pandemic

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After swimmers and divers missed out on the NCAA Championships last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Executive Director Greg Earhart released a letter in the CSCAA newsletter, warning of the dangers of focusing on the NCAA Championships again.

Last year, seniors in Division I and Division III did not get to participate at all, while Division II swimmers and divers had one and a half days of the meet before it was canceled.

As of now, the NCAA championships are on as scheduled.

Earhart’s letter warns of the effects on swimmers whose hopes hinge on making the NCAA championships, a meet that because of the pandemic, has a chance of not happening again, especially with many college teams just starting to compete again.

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CSCAA Executive Director Greg Earhart’s letter:

During one of our town halls, we surveyed coaches about their confidence of a national championship happening.  Back then, nearly three-quarters of you said you felt there was less than a 50% chance that they could be pulled off. Having known this then, and seeing both the rise of case counts since, I’m struck, no – appalled at the lengths some are going to to get their kids’ (or their own) hopes up for qualifying for a meet that may or may not happen. 

Seriously though, with fewer than a quarter of teams having had a bona-fide meet thus far, is a championship this year even legitimate?  Whether it is or isn’t might depend on your perspective, your politics, or your contract’s bonus structure. I get that. If my Brewers had won the World Series, I’d consider it as legitimate as any season, but if the Cubs had, well, then it’s tainted. 

What I do know is that the symptomatic spread of this virus is real and deadly. I’ve never won a national title but I lost my mom to the coronavirus. I also know that I would feel guilty if I advocated bringing hundreds of people together just to crown a national champion knowing that it means another member of our community has to say goodbye to a loved one over an iPad.

At this point, I’m convinced that this year’s most important meet is Senior day.  It might be at a conference meet, might be against your biggest rival or might even be virtual. Some kids might swim fast, others not at all. As I’ve been unpacking a lifetime of things stored in my mother’s basement, I can tell you, the notes – especially from parents thanking me for looking after their sons and daughters – mean more to me than any medals or coach-of-the-year plaque.

Stay safe,

GE

CSCAA Executive Director

Earhart believes the focus should be on senior days for every school. Those are always special, but given the state of the world and the sport, he said, they are the most important.

2 comments

  1. avatar
    David M. Thomas

    The TYR Pro Am has sponsored meets with no spread of COVID. Is the NCAA not capable of defining a safe venue?

  2. avatar
    Todd McFall

    No one knows if there’s no spread of COVID from these meets. The communities in which these meets were held could have been impacted, which is the point of Earhart’s letter.

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