Kent state hockey

The KSU Divison 1 club hockey team defends against IUP. Jan. 31, 2020.

All Kent State club sports for the spring semester have been suspended, effective Jan. 1.

The decision was announced by university Recreational Services on the department’s Twitter account Friday afternoon

“All club sports activities are suspended effective Jan. 1, 2020, through the end of the spring 2021 semester. This decision was not an easy one to make, however, we feel this is best for the health and safety of Kent State University students and community,” the statement said.

The decision to suspend club sports was made by the Senior Leadership within the Department of Recreational Services with the support of the Division of Student Affairs.

This decision affects 21 club sports teams, including the university’s ACHA Division I and III hockey teams, and hundreds of students.

“The main guiding factors for the decision is for the health and safety of Kent State students and community,” associate director of Recreational Services Jim Underwood said. “The one certainty that we have seen is there’s an increase of confirmed cases and hospitalizations throughout the county and as the virus continues to spread, our environment is becoming more restricted.”

Club teams are overseen the Department of Recreation Services which is under the Division of Student Affairs meaning they are student organizations and thus have to follow Kent City Health Department guidelines, unlike varsity sports which do not. 

“Right now you can only have a gathering of 10 people or less on campus which prevents club teams from hosting competitions and it’s currently preventing teams from hosting practices,” Underwood said. “There is a hybrid set up that we tried this fall where they can only have up to ten students practicing.”

The university has imposed travel restrictions on student organizations which prevents club sports from traveling for competition.

“The restriction is tied to competing as well as the ability to host opponents and it’s very doubtful that those restrictions are going to change in the current state of the pandemic,” Underwood said.

Zachary Nowak, coach of the Division I hockey team, showed his disappointment on Twitter.

“While this is not what we wanted to happen, we do understand that under the current pandemic we have, decisions must be made for the safety of the students and their families,” Nowak said.

The decision could be re-evaluated if conditions improve or what a timeline for a vaccine looks like next semester.

“The department does realize that if the climate changes in the spring in terms of the pandemic, then there will be a re-evaluation of this,” Underwood said. “A lot of factors have to align for that to happen and one of the big factors is where a vaccine will be at during the spring semester. There are a lot of unknowns we are just unable to predict at this time.”

Kathryn Rajnicek is a sports reporter. Contact her at krajnice@kent.edu.

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