Women’s rowing discusses NCAA cancellation of spring sports

The team finished practice on March 12 knowing there would be no season.

Members of the Temple women's rowing team participate in warm-ups at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta on October 16, 2019. | JAY NEEMEYER /FILE PHOTO

When the NCAA cancelled all spring sports on March 12, the Temple University women’s rowing team had just started a practice, senior Kerianne McGee said. 

“We were just going down to the river as normal,” McGee said. “We were scheduled to do some race pieces against each other to get ready for our scrimmage on [March 14] against Rutgers.” 

Coach Rebecca Grzybowski told the team as soon as she found out about the NCAA’s decision, McGee said. Grzybowski got the phone call during the team’s warm-up, she added. 

“It was definitely a moment that will live with me for a long time, finding that out,” McGee said. 

Grzybowski offered to let each class row together one last time that day, McGee said. The classes compete against each other in practice frequently, she added. 

“We decided there was no question whether or not we wanted to,” McGee said. “That was the last time we got to practice together as that team, one last time.”

There are nine seniors on the Spring 2020 women’s crew roster. The NCAA granted eligibility relief for spring student-athletes on March 30. This relief would mean student-athletes who were seniors in spring 2020 would be permitted to return for spring 2021. 

“I’m definitely so grateful for the NCAA’s decision on giving senior athletes an opportunity to extend their collegiate careers an additional year,” McGee said.

Some of her classmates will not be able to take advantage of the eligibility relief because they already have graduate school or other plans in place, McGee said. She is considering a master’s program that Temple may offer in 2021, she added. 

“I’m definitely strongly considering it because I mean in life there are very few times you get a second chance at things, and this is the senior class’, the class of 2020, their opportunity to get a second chance after this year our seasons were cut short,” McGee said.  

Grzybowski said that no races had been individually cancelled before March 12, but that the Ivy League’s shutdown meant there would have been fewer competitors at scheduled races. 

After the March 14 scrimmage, the team was scheduled to compete on March 21 and 29 on the Cooper River in Camden, New Jersey, then travel to Florida for the Sunshine State Invitational on April 3. 

“We hadn’t had any races yet, everything was still anticipated to be business as usual minus a couple of teams,” Grzybowski said. 

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