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‘We’ll be back’: Indiana athletes react to Big Ten and NCAA cancellations

On Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten Conference officially canceled all remaining athletic competition on the calendar for the 2019-20 school year, in response to the growing concerns about COVID-19. The NCAA swiftly followed, canceling all remaining winter and spring championships. The move is obviously devastating for athletes, coaches, fans, the sports business as a whole, and people like us, who rely on events and competitions to give us things to talk and write about.

Though the NCAA announced less than 24 hours later that relief would be granted to Division I athletes competing during the spring season, it doesn’t change the fact that many seasons came to an abrupt close.

Indiana Basketball was set to finally make it back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Archie Miller. Teri Moren’s team was ready to build on some momentum, putting together one of the best seasons in program history. Multiple other teams were also forcing positive change to take place right before us.

Many athletes whose sports compete during the winter season took the court or pool for the final time without knowing it would be their last.

From basketball to water polo to tennis to golf, Indiana athletes took to social media to express themselves. This is a sampling of the response from the Indiana Athletics community.

Indiana Basketball (20-12, 9-11 Big Ten)

Joey Brunk surely came to Indiana for a variety of reasons, but chief among them was to help IU get back to the big dance for the first time since 2016. It won’t happen this year, but Brunk returns for his final year of eligibility with the program next season.

Another guy who gets it? Freshman Trayce-Jackson Davis:

 

There’s been a massive outpouring of support for Indiana’s seniors who deserved better than this end to their careers, and rightfully so. De’Ron Davis battled health issues, underwent surgery on a torn Achilles during his sophomore year, and still returned to finish his career. Devonte Green was one of the most electric players we’ve seen in the past decade of Indiana basketball.

As Archie Miller said on Senior Day, whatever Devonte does next, it’ll probably include draining threes.

We’ve seen this sentiment float around quite a bit since the NCAA decided to call off March Madness, and apparently it’s been seriously considered. It’s only a matter of time before we find out if Indiana will get an unofficial NCAA Tournament bid. It would certainly be a nice touch.

Indiana Women’s Basketball (24-8, 13-5 Big Ten)

For as much attention has been drawn to the premature ending of the men’s team’s season, an equal amount should be directed to what Teri Moren’s group will now be prevented from accomplishing. The team reached new program highs in total number of wins, both overall and in conference play. Senior Brenna Wise was a massive part of it. The Robin to Ali Patberg‘s Batman. She’ll go down as an Indiana great.

Indiana Baseball (9-6)

The response from the lads was a bit more subdued; Indiana was just four weeks into its season, but already had three ranked wins under its belt, projected to again be among the best in the Big Ten. It won’t change the fact that IU had an entire season stripped away.

Junior outfielder Elijah Dunham turned to his faith in wake of the news. This one was also retweeted by IU skipper Jeff Mercer:

(A huge shoutout goes to The Hoosier Network’s own Austin Render. He called nearly every one of IU’s nonconference games on the radio and did a phenomenal job.)

Indiana Softball (12-9)

Shonda Stanton was in midst of a massive program overhaul, and she still is. It’ll just be put off another year. Senior Emily Goodin was off to a remarkable start to her final year as the workhorse in the circle, with a second no-hitter to her name and a career day just last Tuesday against Miami (OH) with 14 strikeouts. She, along with the rest of IU’s seniors, should receive an additional year of eligibility.

Athletes aren’t the only ones hit. Gwen Svekis, who has been with the program for the past two seasons, as a graduate student manager, also saw her time come to a quick close:

Indiana Athletic Performance Coach JD O’Brien honored the seniors he has worked with, whether they’ll be coming back or not:

Other Olympic Sports

Redshirt junior Liam Cronin and redshirt freshman Graham Cooks were set to represent Indiana at this year’s NCAA Wrestling Championships, which were going to take place March 19-21 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis:

Senior sprinter Megan Grabowski (Bloomington South) won’t get the chance to compete in her last Big Ten or NCAA Championships:

In her first year at the helm, Taylor Dodson had Indiana water polo rolling. Indiana, a first-year member of the top-tier Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, will have to wait another year to play its first match in the conference. Even then, IU began (and will finish) the year 13-5, with wins over No. 11 Pacific, No. 24 Marist, No. 9 UC Davis and No. 25 California Baptist.

Connor Hines

I am a sophomore from San Diego, California studying in Indiana University's Media School. Beyond my work with The Hoosier Network, I'm a broadcaster for WIUX 99.1 FM, IU's student radio station, and BTN Student U. I previously served as beat reporter for Indiana Softball during my freshman year, and I look forward to continue to deliver fresh and innovative content with softball and much more during this year. Last summer, I interned with San Diego's Mighty 1090, the flagship AM sports radio station in my hometown. Tweet me your hot takes @ConnorHines17. Email: cohines@iu.edu

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