As student-athletes in the United States of America (USA) are headed back to their respective campuses, the University of The Bahamas (UB) Athletics Department is looking to do the same with their athletes later this month.
The university’s athletic director, Kimberley Rolle, said that they are looking to physically return this month.
“We are looking to return to campus for physical engagement of student-athletes some time in July. Currently, we are in phase two which is virtual training. All of our athletes and teams are engaged in virtual training with our athletic trainers. For example, our Head Athletic Trainer Sasha Johnson has a few teams that she is dealing with. She is responsible for getting them going with their strength and conditioning. Likewise, our other trainer, Shakeitha Henfield, has teams she is working with as far as getting them going again with strength and conditioning training. That is where we are at,” Rolle said.
Rolle said that the virtual training will continue until the university opens its campus for athletes to return, which will be in limited stages. This month, she said, they are looking at the possibility of the student-athletes undergoing a pre-participation physical to ensure they all are fit and given the green light by a physician to compete. Once that happens, they are going to start looking at getting the athletes ready for outdoor fitness activities with social distancing and all the health and safety protocols that have already been established in place.
The athletic director has been monitoring what colleges are doing abroad. One of the colleges she mentioned was Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. That school canceled all fall semester sports. According to Rolle, it is too early for UB to make a similar stance and that it is not solely up to her and her department to make that decision. She said a decision of that magnitude calls for a number of discussions between her department and the university’s administrators and council.
Rolle said that it will be different when the student-athletes return to practice and play, and that they understand that there is going to be a level of frustration involved.
“In The Bahamas we have to be very careful because we know that our tests are limited and we don’t want to put our student-athletes in a situation where we expose them to that (COVID-19) because we want to ensure their safety. That is why our athletic trainers have been very diligent about establishing a whole set of protocols that will guide us in going forward in this COVID-19 area. Whenever we start again, all of our athletes prior to every practice are going to get their temperatures checked. They are also going to do a quick survey of questions and, depending on how they respond to that and their temperatures, that will determine whether or not they practice that day,” Rolle said.
The university’s athletics department has a phased approach to its return to play. A lot of that is predicated on the university’s return to campus policy. Rolle said that the university has established a task force which lays out what offices will be opened initially, how they are going to return to
classes, and how they are going to do things on campus, among other things. That task force is evolving everyday, said Rolle.
The UB Mingoes currently engages in competition in eight sports – men’s soccer, men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, women’s softball, men’s and women’s cross country racing, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s judo and men’s and women’s golf.
For now, Rolle said that it is unlikely that the men’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams will be traveling to Florida to compete against other colleges in the fall.
Back in March, the New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) was forced to suspend its season during the playoffs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That stoppage meant that the UB Mingoes men’s basketball playoff run was halted. The men’s soccer team’s season in the Bahamas Men’s Soccer League was also put on hold. The track and field teams also saw their season cut short. Then, there was the Mingoes women’s softball team that was set to start its season in the New Providence Softball Association (NPSA). That season has been halted as well.