A catch-up on EWU athletics

Athletic+director+Lynn+Hickey+and+senior+associate+athletics+director+for+external+affairs+Devon+Thomas+sit+in+front+of+the+board+of+trustees+on+Friday.+The+BOT+approved+Hickey%27s+decision+to+postpone+the+Roos+Field+renovation+proposal+until+another+meeting+in+October.+This+meeting+occurred+in+2019.

Taylor Newquist

Athletic director Lynn Hickey and senior associate athletics director for external affairs Devon Thomas sit in front of the board of trustees on Friday. The BOT approved Hickey’s decision to postpone the Roos Field renovation proposal until another meeting in October. This meeting occurred in 2019.

By Randle Kinswa, Co-Managing Editor/Sports Editor

 

Reese Court, Roose Field and the URC have been quiet, with EWU joining the majority of universities across the country to halt all athletics until Jan 1. 

Now, it looks like sports will be returning much sooner.

The NCAA announced that the first practice for Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball will be Nov. 25. 76% of universities across the country will be done with fall quarter by then. 

Last week, the NCAA also announced the dates for the FCS playoffs. 

The playoffs will start April 18 and will end with the championship game on May 15.

Both football and basketball will be back for EWU in the coming months.

EWU Director of athletics Lynn Hickey said the football committee will decide the schedule by Oct. 14. 

“We have all kinds of committees,” Hickey said. “I’m on the football sub-committee.” 

The Big Sky Conference includes eight states with varying degrees of COVID-19 mandates. Hickey said the health and safety of everyone involved in athletics is the number one priority. 

Hickey mentioned that EWU, like the schools in the Big Sky, do not have the resources of a large football program like University of Washington or Alabama. Hickey said creates another task of bringing sports back which is accommodating the proper health procedures with the resources you have at your disposal. 

Throughout the past few months, amongst a worldwide pandemic and a summer filled with protests of social injustice, Hickey and her staff have had their budget and salaries both cut. Hickey said they have all worked as hard as they ever have. 

The EWU Football team will be not playing in the fall, but will be moving their season to the spring of 2021. (Mckenzie Ford for The Easterner)

“I’m very, very proud of how resilient and loyal our students and our staff has been,” Hickey said. 

The safety measures and mandates that have been passed during the season of COVID-19 has created all kinds of obstacles for everyone involved in the sports department.

One thing everyone all had to learn, Hickey said, was to communicate differently, whether it is with coaches, players, trainers, recruiters, recruits or even other administrators.

Hickey also said that under the current socio-political climate, with both visibility and diversity in athletics, a key thing for her and her staff is social justice. 

Another feature Hickey is quite proud and pleased with is the loyalty displayed in EWU athletics.

According to the sports media outlet, The Ringer, the past few months there have been an abnormal number of student athletes that have either transferred or simply quit sports, school or both. The number of student transfers in 2020 being larger than the number of 2018 and 2019 combined. 

At EWU, however, there have been very few transfers, and very few students that have unenrolled. Hickey said she has been extremely pleased with the loyalty of the students and staff.

Hickey said right now the university is in a type of survival mode and eventually it will be in a rebuild mode.