Information for athletes
If you’re an incoming or returning student-athlete, the best source of information is your head coach. Willamette coaches are involved in the overall planning for Bearcat athletics and are updated regularly on items that impact our teams. General questions may also be sent to the Department of Athletics at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The decision was made by the Presidents' Council of the Northwest Conference, in consultation with the NWC Commissioner and the athletic directors at all nine conference institutions. They also took into account the guidance of state and local health authorities, governments, and medical professionals.
On August 17th, the NWC announced that they are suspending all athletic competitions until at least January 1, 2021. The decision impacts the fall sports of cross country, soccer, volleyball, football, tennis, and golf. It also impacts fall competitions for the winter sports of basketball and swimming. The NWC is working to develop a schedule for competition for all of these sports in the spring. We will provide updated schedules as soon as they are available.
NCAA bylaws state that students do not use a season of eligibility until after their team has had its first competition. In the case of no competition, students and teams can train this fall without using a season of eligibility. The NCAA also recently passed a waiver stating that if teams compete but are not able to complete more than 50 percent of their normal schedule, students will not use a season of eligibility.
Yes. We are hoping to hold meaningful training sessions and team activities during the fall, although they may be modified based on current health guidelines. The only thing that will be missing will be outside competition. In addition to the usual team training, we are hoping to provide teams with other useful discussions and activities around topics like diversity and inclusion, leadership, healthy relationships, and mental health.
There are ongoing discussions about winter and spring sports. We will continue to monitor conditions for those sports and will communicate any schedule changes if they occur. We hope to make a decision about winter sports by Oct. 1.
Recent legislation adopted by the NCAA has removed the traditional and non-traditional season labels for 2020-21. In their place, all teams are allowed 114 days of athletically-related activity. That means each of our teams will be able to train this fall as long as they plan to save enough of their allowable days for practice and competition during the spring semester.
While we are hoping that all of our students will join us this fall for training and team-building opportunities, they must make the decision that is right for them. If a student chooses not to participate this fall for any reason, they will still be welcomed back to our teams in the future.
We are working on plans to reopen all athletic facilities. An opening date for the fitness center in Sparks has not been set, but we are hoping to be open by August 31, 2020. New policies and procedures will be in place to help keep people healthy and safe. Expect operating hours to be adjusted and occupancy limits to be put in place. Also, in alliance with university policy, we will not be permitting anyone outside of the Willamette community to use our facilities.
We have moved several pieces of equipment from the existing fitness center into a part of Cone Fieldhouse to help with social distancing in the fitness center and provide a space where teams can train. The space in Cone is available for teams to train together as supervised by a member of the coaching staff. We hope it will also be available as an overflow space should the fitness center reach its capacity. Teams and coaches must follow all safety and cleaning protocols set in place by the university.
Teams will have very limited access to locker rooms and only for the retrieval of equipment that cannot be stored elsewhere. Restrooms and showers in the facilities will be closed until further notice. As with all other indoor spaces on campus, locker rooms will have capacity limits and masks and social distancing will still be expected.
Yes. We have moved the athletic training room in Sparks into part of Henkle Gym, allowing us to create a space that is properly socially distanced. We will strive to continue to provide outstanding athletic training services, but students may find some treatments, like ankle taping and use of the cold tub, are restricted at this time.
Yes. Before any student can participate in practice, they must complete all of the necessary medical forms. This year, we will be doing concussion baseline testing for all incoming student-athletes. In the past, such testing was only done for the high-impact sports of football, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse.
No. All Willamette community members will be required to sign an agreement to follow guidelines that will keep our community safe. However, athletes will not be asked to sign any participation waivers associated with COVID-19.
Student-athlete testing will be consistent with the rest of campus. Currently, in accordance with the recommendations of the CDC and the Oregon Health Authority, Willamette University will have the capacity to test students who are symptomatic or those who have had known close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
If any member of a team tests positive for COVID-19, they will be asked to isolate away from others until they are well, and we will take our guidance from the local health authority. Any teammates identified as "close contacts" per the CDC guidelines will be asked to quarantine for 14 days. This could mean we shut down all team training for the duration of the quarantine period. We will also implement our enhanced cleaning protocols to disinfect all affected areas.
The financial aid and eligibility implications of these decisions are different for each student. We encourage you to speak with your coach(es) and reach out to Associate AD Leslie Shevlin (email@example.com) with specific questions if you are considering this option.