On Thursday, March 12, the Sun Belt Conference suspended all spring sports for the rest of the season. At the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, this includes women’s basketball, golf, baseball, softball, tennis, soccer and track and field.
According to the conference, this decision was made in consultation with the league’s presidents, chancellors and directors of athletics to address growing concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19.
For Ragin’ Cajun athletics, some seasons were just getting started while others were not even into conference play yet or at their end. The women’s basketball team had made it to the semi-finals round of the Sun Belt Women’s Basketball Championship before its cancellation.
The baseball team was set to play their first conference game on March 13 before the announcement. They ended their season with a 7-0 win against McNeese on March 10 and an overall record of 8-9. The original season was not set to end until May 16.
Junior pitcher Brock Batty expressed his disappointment in the news. “You know of course it’s a big shock, once we saw the SEC postpone their season we thought we’d get ours postponed until the end of March and then we were at practice and they cancelled the World Series and I mean that’s all we play for, so once that happened there was nothing we could do,” Batty said.
He explained that people are lost right now and waiting for updates. “No one really knows what’s going on right now, it’s really just a really scary time right now. We have seniors that didn’t get to play their last season and we don’t know what the eligibility is going to be. I’m a junior and I don’t know if I’m going to get the season back. So right now everyone’s really just waiting to see what’s going to happen,” Batty said.
Batty added his initial reaction to the news. “When it happened it was just numb, no one knew what to say. The whole world is doing it, not just us, everyone’s in the same boat waiting on a statement, but I don’t think anybody really knows how bad this is going to be, or how long it’s going to last,” Batty said.
As far as his thoughts on the conference’s future decisions, Batty knows it will be tough. “They have some really tough decisions to make. Whatever they do, I’m sure people are going to protest it, but it’s not our job to do that, our job is to follow whatever they say and go about our business,” Batty said.
For women’s tennis, they were also set to play their first conference game on March 14. They already started their season off strong 9-2 prior to this.
Senior Clara Mantaux was heavily affected by the end of her tennis season. “It’s very sad, I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that way, but especially because I was a senior and it was my last semester playing tennis for UL,” Mantaux said.
She added that conference play had not yet begun. “When we heard that our season was over, we didn’t even start our conference matches yet so we did not know what was going to happen, and we also had a very good start of the season,” Mantaux said.
Mantaux is hoping for an extra year of eligibility. “We just hope that maybe the NCAA is going to give us a year back,” Mantaux said.