Photo Courtesy: York Athletics Department
By Kiara Gonzalez
On February 18, the York College Athletic Department held a virtual student-athlete orientation where the future of athletics was the main order of business.
As of this spring, York Athletics is not in a position to execute the usual activities since the coronavirus pandemic surfaced. Since March 2020, the department has been forced to search for new ways that athletes can remain engaged in the sports world. So far, Fall 2020 sports were canceled and CUNYAC recently announced on Feb. 17 that Spring 2021 sports are also canceled.
“I want athletics,” said Carl Christian, York’s athletic director. “I want to be able to return to competition, return to sports as quickly and safely as possible.”
Christian spoke about the eligibility, compliance and academic success of the student-athletes as well as the athletic department goals for 2021 of improving student-athlete success, enhancing athletic programs and facilities upgrades. Christian hopes that with the help of the rest of the staff, faculty and student-athletes, there can be a clean transition when sports return.
“Despite all of those challenges and despite the transition to distance learning, I think we’ve been able to accomplish a great deal,” said Christian.
There are different programs that have been implemented to engage the current and new student-athletes such as the Student-Athlete-Mentor (SAM) program and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The SAM program, run by Amy O’Connor, the York Sports and Medicine director, is meant for current students to be mentors for new student-athletes and help engage within the athletic community for support and inclusivity. The SAAC program, also run by Amy O’Connor and Athletic Academic Advisor, Sheryl McBarnett, is a platform for the student-athletes to have their voices be heard by chosen representatives of each sport.
The programs are providing a chance for alumni to mentor students, provide guidance for career opportunities and create a network. The programs were put in place in hopes of keeping student-athletes in contact with people who can help them navigate the pandemic. O’Connor’s goal for the program is that by working together as a family, a team and helping each other out, there can be a pathway for some students and help during difficult times– being connected without being physically together.
Current and new athletes are encouraged to complete all compliance forms, get an updated physical and update their SportsWare information since there are new updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic. SportsWare is a platform where all of the medical and emergency information goes for each athlete as well as maintaining updated information about what sport the particular athlete is involved in. O’Connor tells student-athletes that it is important that all of the online forms, paperwork and assessments are done ahead of time to prevent any confusion when the opportunity to return arises.
Sheryl McBarnett discussed the academic success of the student-athletes, with some having an overall average GPA of 3.6, saying this was not easy to achieve and hasn’t been achieved since the late 1990s. McBarnett expressed how proud of the athletes she was and how the athletes overcame the change of learning environments.
“I was happy to see the progress in terms of your grades and how well you all did during these really trying times,” said McBarnett, congratulating all student-athletes, wishing them the best for the semester.