Tulane AD Dannen: All Green Wave sports seasons have “officially ended”
Members of the Tulane Community,
The challenges of COVID-19 (coronavirus) have been felt across the world and, as you are aware, are currently impacting all of us in the United States. I write to you today to share with you the impact on Tulane Athletics, and our student-athletes, as well as to share our plans going forward.
To say that this situation is fluid is an understatement, and perhaps even as you read this, we may have already adapted our behavior or implemented actions based on unforeseen factors.
On Thursday, March 12, the NCAA officially cancelled all national championships through the end of the academic year. On that same day, the American Athletic Conference suspended all competitions for its member schools. Eleven of our sport programs (Men’s Basketball, Swimming & Diving, Sailing, Bowling, Men’s and Women’s Track and Field, Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Women’s Golf, Baseball and Beach Volleyball) have officially ended their seasons prematurely.
The directives impact 163 in-season student-athletes, including 35 seniors. We have cancelled 106 athletic competitions, including 36 home contests. Further, all practices have been cancelled, including spring football and the spring football game. All on- and off-campus recruiting activities have ceased, and we are not authorizing any off-campus travel for coaches or staff. Camps and clinics hosted by Tulane are suspended until further notice and last week, we postponed the study abroad program for student-athletes until 2021.
The welfare of our student-athletes is our highest priority. Throughout the day today, I met with all 350 student-athletes, their coaches and support staff. Their frustrations, disappointment, apprehension and anxiety are understandable, and we are committed to ensuring that their interests are protected going forward.
Student-athletes have been given the option to remain on campus (or in their off-campus housing) or return to their family home during the remainder of the semester. There is no impact to their scholarship.
Those returning home are meeting with academic advisors prior to departing campus to ensure their academic support plan is in place. While classes are cancelled the week of March 16, online classes for all University students begin March 23. Freshmen student-athletes are issued a computer as a matter of practice, and this will assist in their online learning. Upper class student-athletes are provided a laptop upon request. We will also provide online tutoring resources, as well as access to our mental health support staff, as necessary, for those who are not able to meet face-to-face with our staff.
Those student-athletes who choose to remain on campus will have access to all dorms, facilities, locker rooms, training rooms, food service and athletic support operations as per usual. Athletic offices will remain open. While practices will not take place, coaches are permitted to work individually with student-athletes upon their request, and in accordance with NCAA rules. Individual strength training will continue to take place for those on campus.
Looking ahead, Tulane is supporting a proposal at the NCAA level to allow current student-athletes participating in spring sports another year of eligibility. While there are many layers of complications associated with this proposal, it is absolutely the right thing to do and we will lend our voices to the effort.
One of the great benefits offered by athletics in an educational environment is the ability to meet and overcome adversity. Ironically, our coaches and staff spend every minute of their days hoping to ensure our student-athletes never experience adversity. However, today, an outside threat poses the greatest adversity many of our student-athletes have experienced.
We will continue to prioritize the needs and interests of our student-athletes and hope you will join us in this effort.
I wish you and your family health and safety in the days ahead.
Director of Athletics
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