ASU athletes and coaches react to cancellation of sports

The Pac-12 recently canceled all sports for 2019-20 academic year due to concerns of the coronavirus

Growing concerns over spreading COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, has frozen the sports world in place, along with ASU athletics.

ASU athletes and coaches took to social media to react over the cancellation of all winter and spring sports after it was announced by the Pac-12 last week.

The conference is also prohibiting all organized team athletically-related activities until March 29. 

Read More: Pac-12 conference cancels all sports for 2019-20 academic school year

Before the Pac-12 made its decision, the NCAA canceled all winter and spring championships and tournaments, including the men's and women's basketball tournaments.

Men's basketball head coach Bobby Hurley praised the NCAA for its decision, but called for the association to release brackets on the planned selection day, saying, "every team deserves recognition for their season's success."

Dan Gavitt, the NCAA senior vice president of basketball, decided to not release the 68-team field for either the men's or women's basketball tournaments.

Hurley later thanked fans in a post, saying, "We were one of the best teams in the country during the month of February and it's a shame we'll never know what March had in store for us."

The men's basketball team was poised to make the tournament, with ESPN's Joe Lunardi having projected the team as a 10 seed.

Senior women's basketball guard Reili Richardson went to Twitter to ask for an extra year of eligibility in the wake of the cancellation of the women's tournament. 

While the NCAA granted student-athletes who participated in spring sports an eligibility waiver, it is unlikely that winter sport student-athletes will be granted a similar waiver, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, effectively cutting Richardson's final year and her collegiate career short.

The women's basketball team was also poised to make the tournament for the seventh straight year, with ESPN's Charlie Creme projecting them as a seven seed.

Softball redshirt senior pitcher Cielo Meza hinted that if able, she would exercise her extra year, saying, "I’d put myself through another year of school again just to play for this team."

She posted a 10-2 record with a 1.98 ERA and 91 total strikeouts in her shortened year.

Baseball head coach Tracy Smith reflected on a season of lost potential, as the team was ranked as high as No. 3 by Baseball America in the preseason and primed to make a deep postseason run with talent such as projected top draft pick Spencer Torkelson.

"Personally, for our ASU Baseball team not to be able to share its undeniable skills and talents with the baseball world seems almost cruel and unfair," Smith wrote.

However, the coach chose to step back and look at the greater picture of the situation that has taken away one of the team's most promising seasons in recent years.

"It is without question a time to pause and look at the big picture and the big picture is this - our world is in need," Smith wrote. "It needs social responsibility right now, it needs unprecedented measures to be taken, and at a fundamental level, it needs common sense."



Reach the reporter at jhorst2@asu.edu and follow @HorseySeven on Twitter.

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