Covid-19 has changed the world as we know it especially in sports. Across the country athletes are having to stop playing their respective games due to the risk of further spreading the deadly disease. While many look at this as a necessary evil to slow the spread of the pandemic many don’t understand the long term impact this has already had on programs. Cancelling seasons results in huge losses of revenue and has forced colleges including are own App State to cut programs from the agenda permanently. App State has already cancelled Men’s soccer, Tennis and indoor track. While the immediate impact of these cuts like scholarships are in the limelight at the moment the cut goes much deeper. 

In the articles “Former App State Coaches, Players Come to Terms with the Cutting of Their Programs” and  “App State’s Rich Soccer Tradition…Was the Golden Era Pushed to the Wayside?” we are brought witness to long term and historical impacts that can be caused. Just by cutting Men’s soccer the university is letting go of a promising program that recorded 11 wins the previous season and their rich history that dates back to the 70s. Soccer used to be a serious sport on App State’s campus and hold claim to the player who has the most career goals in NCAA soccer history, Thompson Usiyan with 109. By eliminating this program you are ending what was once a national powerhouse in the game and further burying your universities roots. 

This personally was hard for me due to the fact that I work in athletics and have to see both sides of this terrible process. Seeing athletes get their sport ripped from them is a terrible thing and even worse may be the coaches. Jobs that they depend on to pay the bills no longer exist and division one opportunities don’t open up every day. On the other hand to keep the university afloat cuts did have to be made and unfortunately the big money makers like football aen;t on the chopping block. 

Overall this pandemic has had massive effects on the sporting world and maybe has given a chance for us to rethink how we do collegiate sports as discussed in  Andrew McGregors piece. Here he discusses the idea of massive funding of sports putting people in awkward spots resulting in their success in order to meet financial guidelines. In other words if we invest so much into a program but it’s not successful we can’t get our return. This is what has happened at big programs like Texas A&M, they have invested so much in football that if the season is not played they stand to lose upwards of 85 million. This raises ethical dilemmas in the sense that it wasn’t safe enough to play sports like tennis but it is safe enough to play high contact games like football.

Covid-19 has changed our world in more than one way, and sports is no different. Covid-19 has made us have to think of new ways to do our sports. And now comes the issue of College Sports during the pandemic. College Football and Basketball is such a money maker for many universities, so they of course want to play but, why risk and exploit athletes health for something that may change their life or even take their life when they can’t even get paid for it? It certainly brings up quite a problem and it also brings up the problems that are now quite obvious in Collegiate sports. How or will the NCAA address this? Only time will tell, but I think the pandemic has exposed more than ever how exploitative and corrupt collegiate sports can be.

COVID-19 has reshaped a lot of the world in multiple ways. For starters wearing a mask has become the new normal everywhere in public. Classes have either gone online or been minimized to limited capacity all over the country. On top of this the sports world has been struggling to find a way to compete and make money while keeping their athletes safe. College sports specifically, has been struggling to find a way to compete. Football teams have opted to not play in the Fall while others are trying to. Some of the casualties of COVID have been specific sports programs at the university. At Appalachian State, Men’s tennis, soccer, and indoor track and field were cut. The reason for this however, had nothing to do with concern for player health. It was to save money. The closing of the men’s soccer program is especially sad due to the rich history. Before football was the powerhouse, soccer reigned supreme selling out crowds in the 70’s and 80’s. Unfortunately, in recent years, soccer has been an afterthought with sports like football and basketball getting the most attention. With this decision to cut certain sports for money purposes, it brings forth another issue. That issue is whether or not college athletes should be payed. In Covid-19 Presents an Ideal Time to Rethink College Sports, Andrew McGregor ponders this. The fact that money goes into the decision-making process and not the well-being of athletes is pretty telling of universities priorities. It is more important that the university continues to make money off of athletes than these athletes being safe during a global pandemic. If they are to risk their lives and the lives of those around them should they not be compensated in a way that is fair to them. For a long time, this compensation has been scholarships. You play football at a school and in return you receive a free education. However, this pandemic shows that education is really less important than the success of revenue. When money is tight programs that make less money have to be cut no matter their history of success. Money is king and will continue to be so in the near future.

COVID has radically changed the way that people live their lives. Now everyone is a possible enemy who could be harboring the illness of COVID. As the world begins to come back to the reality that the virus is here and we will have to live with it, changes are being made. Schools are moving to online instruction, stores and restaurants are doing contactless delivery and college sports are changing too. “Former App State Coaches, Players Come to Terms with the Cutting of Their Programs” by Ethan Joyce, points out how Appalachian State University has cut three-sport programs due to COVID. The three sports are men’s soccer, men’s’ indoor track, and men’s tennis. These cutting of these sports have nothing to do with the safety of the players, coaches, refs, or fans. No, it has to do with the money that sports bring or don’t bring in. Andrew McGregor wrote “Covid-19 Presents an Ideal Time to Rethink College Sports,” and asks the question of why the safety of those involved is not the first questions asked. Due to the financial difficulties that many are experiencing due COVID are leading universities to rethink how much they allocate to sports. This shows that McGregor’s point is a true question. What are universities going to do to continue to protect their athletes or are they more worried about money?

Sadly the cutting of the men’s soccer program at Appalachian State hurts many more than the current team, for example, those who know the history of the soccer program. Jesse Wood wrote, “App State’s Rich Soccer Tradition…Was the Golden Era Pushed to the Wayside?” Wood mentions how in the 70s and 80s App State won eleven conference championships in a row. Wood reveals that the soccer program also had ample amounts of money to spend on scholarships for both in-state and out-of-state athletes. This allowed for greater success and recruitment and helped them win those eleven championships. In other words, the program was thriving and being recognized on the national level. However, as the years went on, the program received less money and the football team and others gained more. This leads to a lower amount of money available for scholarships and less recruitment. Now that COVID has hit and money is becoming even tighter for many universities, it is becoming easier to simply take from lower-income sports and shift them to sports like football and basketball. As McGregor points out, recent events in the NCAA have allowed for athletes to gain more rights and a louder voice to protest their safety and wellbeing. Hopefully, this COVID virus will be like an ice bath for universities and others about the importance of putting the individual players first and not the dollar amount associated with the sport. Although it is sad to see three programs cut at App State, there is always that as the nation comes back from COVID that the programs could be renewed. However, the question still remains, if the programs are brought back, will it be for the amount of money the university can pull in, or the enjoyment of those how play and watch?

    In the first article, Jesse Wood’s “App State’s Rich Soccer Tradition…Was the Golden Era Pushed to the Wayside?” explains that, before coach Vaugh Christian took over the App State men’s soccer team in 1971, they were doing very poorly, mostly due to the fact that soccer in the United States and especially the High Country was incredibly uncommon, and that the university owned the only soccer goals in the entirety of Boone. After his relentless recruiting from outside of the nearby vicinity of the university, he brought the team to much success, recruited numerous star players, and won multiple SoCon championships. Then, coach Hank Steinbrecher came and gave the university its first NCAA playoff win, but left because App started to cut back on its soccer program in favor of more high-revenue sports. The club continued to be great in the 1980s, but once the 90s arrived the club was no longer as supported by the university, with as little soccer scholarships as possible. This is an example of sports history being important, because without it, it would be very easy to forget the heights of the team from the 70s and 80s and the stories of human excellence and perseverance.

    If the soccer club being less supported over the years wasn’t sad enough, the article by Ethan Joyce entitled “Former App State coaches, players come to terms with the cutting of their programs” showcases a lot of how App State’s priorities are on sports. Due to less funding from the coronavirus, the men’s soccer team, among others, were cut from this year’s funding. It’s unfortunate, because the teams that were cut gave students scholarships, and many students rely on scholarships to afford college, which means that the university can give less scholarships this year and pocket more cash right now and into the future if the teams aren’t reinstated.

    The final article by Lars Dzikus, which was written when sports were much more up-in-the-air, talks about how the absence of sports affects society, and how sports brings people together. It allows people to feel less depressed, feel a sense of belonging, and be brought together during times of crisis. With actual sports being harder to do (with the NBA’s bubble being an exception), esports are becoming more commonplace, attempting to fill the void that many other sports fans feel. NASCAR was very easily able to adapt, allowing its racers to compete virtually. Here’s to hoping that actual sports can continue to happen today without disease-related interference, at least so that people can watch from home.

The articles ‘Former App State coaches, players come to terms with the cutting of their programs’ written by Ethan Joyce, and ‘A world without sports’ written by Lars Dzikus, both focus on sports in the age of Covid-19. Joyce’s article focuses primarily on Appalachian State cutting men’s soccer, tennis, and indoor track and field sports programs, and the feelings of those affected by the decision. While Dzikus focuses on the broader sports world in America, and the many times sports have been stopped due to other crises such as the civil war, 1918 flu pandemic, both world wars, and the September 11th attacks. The third article ‘App State’s Rich Soccer Tradition … Was the Golden Era Pushed to the Wayside?’ written by Jesse Wood is about Appalachian States soccer dominance from the early 1970s to late 1980s. 

Wood writes about how Coach Christian Vaughn built the App States soccer team off the talent of foreign players, primarily from his connections to Nigeria. Under Vaughn the team made several SOCON championships and even appearances into the NCAA national playoffs, and rankings. Wood emphasizes how this is no small feat considering how when Vaughn arrived the team was following a 2-8 season and his success is linked to Vaughns relentless recruitment effort. Wood writes on how despites reaching extreme feats for a small program, App State chose to downsize their program in the midst of their rise by cutting back many scholarship opportunities for players despite having excellent attendance. This downsize of the past almost spells out the cutting of App State sports programs in Joyce’s article. Joyce wrote his article on the responses players and coaches had to their beloved programs being cut. Interestingly enough Joyce writes how both men’s soccer and tennis programs have had outstandly talent come from App State, having players receive SOCON player of the year awards, unbeatable NCAA records, or tennis players being inducted into the NC Hall of Fame. Sadly, these sports programs are casualties of Covid-19 and a microcosm of other sports programs across the country being cut, or stopped as well. Dzikus’ article speaks about sports being stopped throughout U.S history, yet how what is going on now during Covid-19 is completely unprecedented. Dzikus reveals how most instances of sports being stopped is a result of men going off to war and there being a shortage of players. Yet, in the case of the 1918 flu pandemic sports were only temporarily stopped and resumed within a few months. Dzikus ends his article on some questions about the future of eSports, and whether or not this could be the end of sports as we know it. 

The articles play into one another very well, speaking about the impacts of Covid-19 and what it can mean for the future of sports. The history of programs and the importance of sports on not just the high country but as a nation. The articles show the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting more than those getting sick, it is affecting routines, pastimes, sports programs, and possibly the modern concept of sports as Dzikus wrote. These articles show the past, and question the future as we continue to pave the way as a country during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Week 3 Blog

Two of the articles this week, What is was, was soccer and Former App State coaches, players come to terms with cutting their programs really focus on the history of the App States sports that were cut do to the COVID-19 pandemic. The article by Wood speaks directly of App State Men’s Soccer history and discusses the success that the program experienced under coach Vaughn Christian. Christian was able to change the culture around soccer in Boone. In Joyce’s article,  while soccer is discussed,  he writes about the impact that each cut sport (Men’s Tennis, Men’s Soccer, and  Men’s indoor track and field) had on the App State community. Joyce discusses the history of each program including App States Men’s Tennis’ multiple Hall of Fame members. In addition to the history of the sports at App State Joyce writes about the feelings of the coaches as their teams are being cut by the school. Joyce also speculates that the reason for this is the COVID-19 pandemic in the attempt to save the athletic department a lot of funding, $1 million this year according to Joyce. Dzikus article is more about the absence of sports across the United States. In his article, Dzikus accurately describes sports as a “modern religion” in America.  In addition to the important of sports in the United States, he also discusses the various times in American history that sports were put on hold. The small list include events like the civil war, the 1918 influenza pandemic, WWI and WWII, and most recently 9/11. The article highlights how important sports have become to society in the country as well as highlights how long this has been the case. The two earlier articles by Joyce and Wood were getting at the same point, only on a more local level to the Boone and App State community. The App State community as well as the rest of the country enjoyed a long and consistent history of sports, until they where altered by the pandemic this year.

In the article “What it was, was Soccer” by Jesse Wood, it can be seen how sports change the lives of not only players, but a community. All it took was one coach, named Vaughn Christian, to initiate this change. After Christian became coach of the Appalachian State soccer team, wins were not uncommon, championship titles were a regular, and the meaning of soccer in the community took a huge turn. People began to become ecstatic about the sport, it literally changed the culture and life of those in the surrounding community. Sports, especially soccer, created a huge impact on the lives of many. However, as the team did not perform as well as they once did, the history of these amazing triumphs are often forgotten, which is a tragedy. Many people such as more modern coaches are trying to preserve this history.

The article “A World Without Sports” by Lars Dzikus states, “Sports went on to act as a way to bring Americans together, helping them persevere and, ultimately, heal.” This explains the importance of sports in the world now. Unfortunately, many sports in the world are put on hold currently as the COVID-19 pandemic plays out. This ties into the article “Former App State Coaches, Players Come to Terms with the Cutting of Their Programs” by Ethan Joyce. Joyce gathers quotes and information from former and current players as well as coaches. He gathers the thoughts and feelings very well on how they feel as athletic programs are closed due to COVID-19 to save money. He also refers to the Appalachian State University soccer team in the 70’s referenced above, when thousands of people would come together to watch the games. The impacts of COVID-19 are more than just sickness and death. The numerous ramifications include economic downfall, budget cuts in funding for programs, and in some cases, the end of certain programs. These issues are literally shaking the sports world and writing history as we live.

When reading the “When what it was, was Soccer” article you find yourself in a different era of App State athletics. The article starts out with a simple interview turning into an education on 1970’s App State soccer. Today and for the most part App State has been known as a football school. Three AA national titles, the biggest upset in college football history and Sun Belt titles to go along with the list. For all intensive purposes the Mountaineers of Boone are a football school. Though when reading this article you find it wasn’t always like that. Today we have Ted Mackorell for the soccer fields at App, but in the “Golden Era” of Mountain soccer Kidd Brewer Stadium would be filled to the max for soccer games. The Mountaineers were nationally ranked as high as number 7 in the country. They beat the UNC Tar Heels on the way to a near undefeated season. The hard working mountaineers were known for being in great shape. The boys were able to outlast most opponents and win big time games. The football team at App State was still able to consume the schools attention through the years and really did so in the mid 2000’s. When the team moved games to Ted Mackorell, students were less willing to attend games. Parking became tougher for players and coaches. The team support system began to fall apart due to the success and popularity of Football on campus. Today in Fall of 2020 our App State soccer team has been totally wiped out due to the challenges of the Covid-19 virus. For these boys soccer is more than just a game, it was their life. The hard work that they put in to get to this point was rigorous and got them here to the Mountains of Boone NC. Now as a pandemic hits the United States hard their soccer program has been cut and their future in disarray. Did App State miss out on a gold mine when the soccer program lost its feet? Maybe it did, maybe the lack of land ability to build a proper soccer complex on campus has destroyed any chance of a future for soccer in Boone. After this virus begins to slow, the attendance and funding rises for the Mountaineers maybe App State soccer can return to Boone.