Morgantown, W.VA- West Virginia University Athletic Director Shane Lyons addressed the media via Zoom platform Wednesday morning. As Zoom conferences are becoming increasingly popular and more common in light of COVID-19. Athletic Director Lyons gave a brief statement on where West Virginia sports currently stand and then opened the call up for questions.
One of the first things Lyons was quick to point out was that no one at West Virginia University or in the NCAA has a blueprint for dealing with trials such as this. West Virginia is not alone in working to create a new type of structure for the student athletes, and coaching staff. By Wednesday, everyone was aware that the Big 12 conference has extended the freeze on sports until May 31. What that means for the Mountaineers is that there is no physical team football activities until May 31. Coaches and players can, under weekly time restrictions, have virtual meetings, watch film and touch base on general wellness of one another.
It had already been announced that the spring football game, the Gold-Blue game scheduled for April 18, has been canceled.
Lyons went on to address the extra scholarships for spring sports seniors, a notion that the NCAA has agreed to allow albeit at the expense of the universities and institutions. For the seniors whose springs were cut short, they will be granted one year of additional eligibility, and this will not affect the incoming scholarship athletes and freshman who have already committed to play. Lyons pointed out that if all of the current seniors choose to return for one additional year, it will likely cost the university around $400-550,000.
The university is currently focused on getting ‘pandemic packages’ to its student athletes in the coming weeks. These packages consist of school-issued iPads and laptops, and any miscellaneous training equipment such as foam rollers and exercise bands that they may need.
Finally, the much-requested topic of football in the fall was brought up. Lyons was asked his opinion on the season happening and his response was one many will breathe a sigh of relief to. Lyons said that currently he is optimistic that we will see Mountaineer football in Morgantown this fall. While Lyons recognized that it is a day by day, week by week fluid situation; the AD is hopeful that there will in fact be football next year and still recognizing that the next step toward fall sports will be to see what happens as the May 31 deadline nears on.