HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Southwestern Athletic conference made the decision to cancel all winter and spring sports activities through the end of the academic year and it's affecting student-athletes across the country, including those here in Huntsville at Alabama A&M.
"It really sucks because not only do I have to not be able to play my sport again or be able to have that classroom experience seeing a professor, but I've had to leave all my friends," said Alabama A&M senior pitcher Michael Hovermill. "All my teammates are going back home whether they live in Alabama or not. It just sucks because when you spend so much time with each other you become best friends and seeing each other every day that's part of the joy of playing a sport is seeing your teammates all the time and now that that kind of got ripped away from us, it really sucks."
The NCAA has decided to give seniors in Division I spring sports, which includes baseball and softball, an additional year of eligibility if they choose to come back to school.
"I'm definitely going to come back for a whole other senior year," Hovermill said. "I have an extra year of schooling left, so luckily I'm in the situation that I'm in. One of my really good friends on my team he's not in this situation he's graduating this semester, he has great job opportunities lined up and he's probably having one of the best seasons of his A&M career and that just got taken away from him."
Hovermill says he knows that once the Bulldogs get back on the baseball field it'll be a great feeling.
"It's going to be a hit the ground running thing," Hovermill said. "I think everyone's just going to be very excited to see each other again and just be on the field playing with each other."
For many of the athletes that had their seasons canceled, they aren't used to having free time like this. Hovermill says this is the first time in 20 years he hasn't had baseball all the time.
"Honestly you're going to laugh at this but I'm playing baseball video games so that's exactly what we're doing," Hovermill said. "If we're not doing classwork, it's a whole lot of doing nothing, Netflix, playing video games. A couple of my teammates are my roommates we're just kind of just talking with each other just kind of wondering about what's going on in the entire country with this pandemic but it's kinda cool like having the time off for the first time in my entire life without baseball, but I'd much rather be out there of course."
Hovermill says he knows that COVID-19 is bigger than the game of baseball and that he knows everyone's safety and well-being is most important but it's heartbreaking to have the season end like this.