Players cope with COVID-19 regulations

Senior Ellie Kaat springs up to the ball for an attempted spike. This season, masks are not required for indoor competition. Photo by Oliver Malone

Truman State University athletic teams’ schedules suffered from callenations because of COVID-19 last year. This season players have seen a somewhat return to normal, however teams are still being required to follow some COVID safety precautions.

The NCAA released a document of regulations for the  resocialization of collegiate sports for fall 2021 training and competitions. 

According to this document, all players must wear a mask during team travel and other athletic activities. Social distancing must be maintained during team meetings and other athletic activities.

According to NCAA regulations players who are unvaccinated cannot participate in team training or competition until antigen tests are negative. During the competition season, unvaccinated players must continue three-times-a-week antigen testing.

Jerod Simek, head swim coach, said team chemistry is already starting to show improvement compared to last year’s season.

“We had really good team chemistry before COVID started, and last year, with limits in the weight room and having limited practice sizes, we weren’t able to get that. Smaller groups were great for individual attention, but it took away from that team comradery feel,” Simek said.

 “The team definitely noticed a missing sense of collectiveness during COVID, and they’ve understood the importance of getting that back,” said Simek.

With fewer COVID-19 restrictions, unvaccinated athletes continue to get tested for COVID-19, and everyone is still required to wear masks indoors.

Because of last year’s COVID-19 restrictions, the team could not have any spectators attend meets. However, with new COVID-19 guidelines in place, fans can return to the stands this upcoming season. 

“As far as guidelines for spectators, fans will have to be wearing a mask and social distance accordingly,” Simek said.

Outdoor sports have fewer COVID-19 restrictions than indoor sports.

Mike Cannon, head coach of the women’s soccer team, says the team is more relaxed and prepared for this season.

“We’ve had no complaints during practice this year. The players and coaches aren’t wearing masks anymore on the field, everyone seems more comfortable, and that seems to be the biggest difference from last year,” Cannon said. 

As far as dealing with COVID-19 this year, Cannon says the teams have taken the correct precautions, were able to learn from last year and aren’t too concerned about the threat of a team outbreak.

Cannon said his goals for the season were to win the conference title, win the tournament and stay healthy.

The next time we can see women’s soccer in action is Oct. 1, at home, kicking off at 2:30 p.m. 

According to the Truman Athletics site, ​​all fans will be permitted to attend all outdoor sporting events without face coverings, but are asked to continue to follow social distancing.  Fans attending home indoor athletic events will be required to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status. According to the website, along with wearing face coverings at indoor sporting events, fans will also be asked to remain socially distanced.

The swim team will also be in action Oct. 1 at their first meet in Columbia, Missouri.