There will be no games at Richard Bland College during the upcoming school year.
The public junior college in Petersburg, Va, announced Tuesday that it’s “suspending all intercollegiate athletics for the 2020-21 academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic.” The school typically fields six teams — softball, men’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and women’s beach volleyball.
“While RBC Athletics is disappointed in having to suspend competitions in 2020-21, the college will not put its student-athletes, coaches and staff at risk knowing the potential threat the COVID-19 pandemic imposes," director of athletics Scott Newson said in the release, noting that student-athletes will be given a release to transfer if they wish. “Every decision the College makes during the 2020-21 academic year reflects a full intention to return to NJCAA and Region X competition better and stronger in 2021-2022.”
The local ABC News affiliate talked with Richard Bland softball player Ellen Palya, who said the athletes were shocked to hear the news.
“We’re just all kind of on the same page of what are we doing next,” Palya said. “We all became so close so quickly and so it’s pretty heartbreaking that I’m not gonna see some of them ever again.
“I do want to play at the next level and play Division I ball. I don’t want to take a year off, but I also need somewhere to go.”
College sports have been canceled or suspended across the United States since mid-March, when the NCAA basketball tournaments were canceled alongside a number of other winter championships. The entire spring seasons were canceled, while the NCAA recently laid out a plan to allow teams participating in fall sports to begin gathering July 13.