Spring sports at CMU

The Carnegie Mellon women's tennis team’s decisive 7-0 win against Division II West Liberty University last Saturday marked the first athletic event that the Tartans have competed in, in nearly a year. Since COVID-19 restrictions shut down Carnegie Mellon athletics last March, athletes have persevered through individual workouts, socially distanced practices, and a myriad of modified activities. Now, with the return of in-person practices and competitions, there is, at last, some long-anticipated relief and excitement for the Tartans.

With the Carnegie Mellon tennis teams leading the way, the soccer and volleyball teams looking to follow closely behind, and all sports planning to resume practice and competition in the spring, it’s safe to say that this spring will be an eventful one for the Tartans.

According to Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Director of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation, Dr. Joshua Centor, “Our students and coaches have done a terrific job adjusting to the policies and protocols that we have put in place, as we prioritize their health and safety, and the health and safety of our community. Our hope is to continue progressing through the NCAA Resocialization of Sport guidelines and to have the opportunity to represent Carnegie Mellon through competition this spring. Each of our intercollegiate programs has schedules in place, and the ambition is to compete.”

Still, with a degree of COVID-19 concerns still present, the athletics department isn’t letting their guard down. In order to ensure that the decisions made regarding Carnegie Mellon athletics are in the best interests of the athletes and their safety, the department has “formed a Return to Play Task Force, which consists of department leadership, the head athletic trainer, head strength and conditioning coach, associate vice president of Community Health and Well-Being, and the team physician.”

Centor states that “The Task Force has been meeting weekly since last spring to prepare for the return to practice and play, and has developed plans for those activities in conjunction with local and national requirements, NCAA guidelines, and the university’s risk mitigation protocols.” Furthermore, “With the development of the Tartan Testing program this semester, all student-athletes and coaches are tested weekly.” The return to competition came after formal approval from Carnegie Mellon's COVID-19 Coordinating Committee.

Although Carnegie Mellon athletics are still quite a ways away from a complete return to normality, the efforts of the athletes, staff, and leadership alike are commendable, with the most critical effort being the prioritization of the safety of those involved.

Since visitors are still not permitted on campus, visiting spectators will not be able to attend competitions in person as of now. Spectators from within the Carnegie Mellon community are allowed to attend but will be subject to university guidelines regarding space capacities and social distancing. However, the athletics department will be looking to provide live webcasts whenever possible.