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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Let's Take A Look -- The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast -- Sunday Cardinal Couple

Thinking Ahead

Happy Sunday to the Cardinal Couple community.  I hope everyone is holding up well, taking care of your needs and staying healthy.

I wanted to take a few moments and think forward about some of the effects that current events might have on college sports. 

A lot of this is speculation, and based on trying to tell the future, so will all of this come to pass?  Any of it?  Hard to say, but I think it makes sense to start thinking about what might be.

Spring Sports

It probably makes sense to organize this by time frame as the timeliness of events will have a
significant effect, here.  And it seems reasonable to start with spring sports as the most impacts.

We've talked, on these pages, and in the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour, a fair bit about the impact on Lacrosse and Softball, of course, with both sports just getting their season into top gear, including Softball having just hosted their home opening weekend.  A quick survey around other spring women's sports shows much of the same.

Golf held two of their five regular season events, and the two smallest at that.

Tennis, while generally considered a spring sport, really plays almost year round, so they were about half to two thirds of the way through their regular season.

Rowing was just getting ready to get started on their season, with their season opener scheduled for March 14th, when everything shut down.

Track and Field gets a slightly later start on their spring season so they, too, had their full outdoor season cancelled.

Now, the NCAA has said that they intend to grant an extra year of eligibility for seniors in spring sports.  We have to consider that not all seniors will actually want to take advantage of that.  We've heard that Funk and Ferg (is that not a ready-made name for a podcast?), Celene Funke and Caitlin Ferguson, on the softball team plan to return for another season if the opportunity does arise.  What others might not?

Some seniors might already be lining up the opening stages of their careers.  Still others might be graduating and decide to pursue graduate work at another institution, so we could see an extra dosage of graduate transfers leading into next season.

What impact does this have on scholarship availability and roster sizes?  Will some players in the recruiting pipeline see a decrease in interest from some schools because of availability of scholarships and a team roster that's already "full"?  Honestly, I expect we won't see much of this, but I bring it up for completeness.  Basically, I expect this to be just a single year aberration.  Had it happened earlier, then perhaps it would've been a bigger issue, but most teams have their incoming freshman class already signed.

In an interesting counterpoint, with many seniors returning for an extra year, while there may be more
pursuing a graduate transfer opportunity, it could very well be that there will be fewer institutions interested in pursing those transfers.

The loss of playing time for players may have an impact on player development, which is certainly a shame, but should be a pretty even playing field for all.

Winter Sports

I expect winter sports to be impacted, ultimately, the least in the long term, even while being perhaps the most heartbreaking loss in the sports world in the immediate term.

We were all gearing up for March Madness, which would have been wrapping up it's frantic first weekend today.  In basketball mad Kentucky, where it's nigh on a religion, we've been particularly hard hit by this.

So basketball, Swimming and Diving, and Indoor Track and Field all had completed conference championships and were training and planning for NCAA championships, all now cancelled, of course.

Basketball, in particular, should get out of this relatively unscathed in the long run.  Individual athletes will need to take on the effort of staying in shape, which can be harder in an isolating world, but there are ways that they can do so.  Social distancing needs can also still be met with solo workouts in a gym, assuming the athlete has access to such a facility that can be used alone.  Overall, however, this should again be a relatively even playing field.

Swimming and Diving and Track and Field may have a bit more impact.  Swimming and Diving
switches to a much more individual orientation over the summer, and while, again athletes may be able to arrange solo training opportunities with pools, the spring individual events are almost certainly not going to happen, and there's a good chance that some summer events will be impacted as well.

Meanwhile Track and Field is impacted because of the loss of the whole spring season as outlined above.  These are basically the same set of athletes involved, though in slightly different events, and the loss of competition time will take some toll.  Again, individual training might be available.

Fall Sports

Perhaps counter-intuitively, I believe fall sports may be the most impacted by this whole scenario.

Cross-country is much the same story as Track and Field, as again, these are a similar set of athletes as the distance runners in Track and Field.

Field Hockey, Soccer, and Volleyball, however, are all team sports, and while individual disciplines within those sports can certainly be practiced alone, spring is a pretty intensive training period for these sports with all holding an exhibition spring season with team practices leading up to them.  Those are all cancelled, now.

Spring is the opportunity for the teams to get an idea of what the next season will look like without
the graduating seniors, start to make plans and adjustments for that, and hopefully just get better as a team before the fall seasons.

Volleyball, of course, already got a dose of this given that the sole senior on the squad, Melanie McHenry went down with an ACL tear mid-season, so the team already had a chance to see what they could look like without her in the rotation.  Field Hockey and Soccer didn't have the same sort of experience.

While this is an even playing field, it could really have an impact on the level play in the fall.  If you think about how our basketball team looked at the beginning of the year; messy, disjointed, and not playing as a cohesive whole...that's what I expect from these teams in the fall.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

We did get the full crew, Paulie, Jared, Case, and I, online with Skype to do the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour again.  It was a good conversation.  We spent some time at the beginning catching up with each other, to a degree, sharing about each of our own personal situations.  If you wish to jump to sports talk, and I certainly understand if you do, it starts at around 21:30.

We also took advantage of not being beholden to any larger organization's schedule and stretched the show to an hour and 15 minutes, making the title even more ironic than it had been.  Basketball, Softball, and Lacrosse were all on the discussion table.

You can access the show below: 



  1. Good podcast today, fellas.

    Life continues to be hectic at the grocery store, but, I am thankful to still be working.

    The fall sports do face a significant challenge, but it is a challenge all student-athletes at all programs will face. I just hope we have fall sports on the collegiate level this fall.

    Don't hoard, keep your distance in stores and wash, wash, sanitize, rinse and repeat.

    Curtis "Off the truck and on the floor" Franklin

  2. Up until 3 years ago Walz was something like 1-12 or 1-13 verse Muffet and ND. In the past 3 season - 4-1. If Cards sweep ND next year they'll be 6-1 in past 4 yrs. Wow. Who would have believed it? Gotta love that.


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