Indoor Track Events, Teams Dropping Amid Pandemic

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Indoor track and field is the latest NCAA sport to get going. It’s having the same troubles as the rest.

As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches a full year of impacting the sports world, several college athletics departments have called off the 2021 indoor track and field season.

It’s been a long time away from the track, as the 2020 spring season was completely canceled by the virus. The 2020 indoor championship meet, which was set for March 13 and 14 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was canceled just prior to starting as COVID-19 began to break out in the United States.

The break will be longer for the University of Texas at El Paso, which announced Wednesday that its men's and women's teams will not participate in indoor competition this winter. Director of athletics Jim Senter said there are limited opportunities amid the pandemic.

"We have seen an erosion in the number of indoor meets being held across the nation," Senter said. "As a result of the declining opportunities to compete, we have decided it is in our best interest to focus on preparing for the outdoor season."

The UC Davis women’s team opted out of the indoor track season last week.

"This was a difficult decision to make, but one that is consistent with our commitment to safeguarding student-athletes' health, safety and well-being." director of athletics Rocko DeLuca said. "Head coach Ngoni Makusha and I feel this was necessary since the team would have limited opportunity to adequately prepare for the upcoming season."

"In this current climate, we are being responsible for ourselves, our society, neighbors and everybody in our community. I think it is a good decision that protects everybody. Our student-athletes are very resilient, I am confident that we will find a way to manage this unprecedented situation together as a family," Makusha said. 

The Big South Conference announced Wednesday that the 2021 indoor conference championships won’t be held. The event was scheduled for Feb. 27-28 in Winston-Salem, N.C. JDL Fast Track canceled all events for the foreseeable future.

“We regret having to cancel the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships,” Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander said. “The Big South membership has been working hard to preserve student-athlete opportunities, but circumstances are preventing us from moving forward.  We look forward to celebrating our track and field student-athletes at the upcoming Big South Cross Country and Outdoor Track & Field Championships.”

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