As spring sports at State Fair Community College screeched to a halt, the team group chats picked up steam.
“My players were texting me, ‘Is this real?’” said Lady Roadrunners softball head coach Lyndsey Talbot.
With several student-athletes noticing the news on social media, SFCC softball players were assigned to study hall Monday when the National Junior College Athletics Association announced the cancellation of the spring campaigns.
Four days earlier, Roadrunners baseball had wrapped up a doubleheader sweep over Metropolitan Community College, moving their Region 16 record to 5-1, when the Wolves announced they were postponing the rest of their contests — including its scheduled Sunday doubleheader in Sedalia.
“It’s too bad,” said Roadrunners baseball head coach Jud Kindle. “Because the kids really worked hard this season.”
Talbot said five Lady Roadrunners sophomores have future academic plans. Her year-end meetings will involve first-year students budgeting credits granted by dual credit and the A+ Scholarship Program.
“A lot of my girls are pushing to be a sophomore halfway through their freshman season,” Talbot said. “You can stay two years and use up that A+, as long as they stay degree-seeking. If you graduate with an associates, you can still have three years of eligibility at a four-year school. There are still a lot of talks to have.
“Just explaining to them exactly what their eligibility means, what can be done at State Fair.”
Kindle said that while a majority of the baseball team’s sophomores will graduate in spring, he will respect their choice to stay in Sedalia or move on to a four-year program.
“If they have a scholarship offer, and that holds, it’s going to be their decision,” Kindle said. “I’m not going to sway them one way or another. Some kids are in different situations. … There’s other students that could possibly use another semester to get where they need to be academically and athletically.”
Kindle added that for incoming freshmen, “their spots are going to be there and we’re excited to get them in.”
Both coaches acknowledged a trickle-down effect in decision-making. The NJCAA announced the postponement and subsequent cancelation of spring season campaigns in step with most professional leagues and NCAA Division I and II programs.
Talbot said outgoing seniors seeking scholarships are waiting on decisions made by potential four-year programs.
“The thing is, every coach is trying to figure out how much (National Letters of Intent) they have left,” Talbot said. “Their scholarship money, it’s just a whole lot of unanswered questions.
“I'm fortunate that most of the sophomores have their plan in place. … it just got cut way short.”
Kindle said he has spent the recent recruitment freeze “watching Looney Tunes” with his children. Talbot said she may learn how to play guitar. When it comes to working around coronavirus, both coaches are in the same boat as anyone else.
“We’re in the same situation as the public,” Kindle said. “Our situation is still basic. We don’t know if it will go into the summertime.”
Alex Agueros can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @abagueros2.