Penn State teams react to Big Ten’s fall sports postponement

Nittany Nation

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford throws a pass during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Michigan in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(WTAJ) — With the Big Ten postponing their fall sports season, many athletes and coaches are taking to social media to share their heartbreak and desire to play.

Just a few days ago, athletes across the NCAA were sharing their desire to play when NCAA football was in discussion of postponement. As of Tuesday, the Big Ten has pulled the plug.

Penn State’s Sean Clifford shared that he is happy when reflecting on his career, noting that so far not one day has passed where he hasn’t given it everything he had.

“Of course I would love to have made a better throw or had a different read at times, but I learned from each and have grown,” Clifford said. “I know that when I get to play football again, whenever that may be, myself and my teammates WILL be ready.”

Seniors are all wondering if their college football career is coming to an end, including defensive tackle Antonio Shelton. “I just pray that I didn’t have my last football practice yesterday. That’s all,” he tweeted.

Before the decision was made, coach James Franklin said on Monday that the best decision right now isn’t to cancel the season.

“Our conference intentionally built a flexible schedule allowing us to easily postpone the start of the season,” Franklin said. “Let’s delay, seek clarity, build the safest environment for our guys and make the best decision.”

The Big Ten initially planned for a conference-only football schedule on Aug. 5. Penn State fall sports were also initially supposed to be played without fans for the 2020 season.

Other coaches from Penn State are reacting to the conference’s decision as well. Women’s soccer head coach Erica Dambach said that she is saddened the team won’t be able to showcase their talents this fall, but they will be ready for the next time they can be on the field.

“Our student-athletes have done everything we’ve asked of them to remain healthy and safe over these past several months,” Dambach said. “I am so proud of how dedicated our students have been to their studies, as well as preparing and training under incredibly difficult circumstances.”

Women’s volleyball head coach Russ Rose said he understood that the decision to postpone fall sports was not taken lightly.

“I am proud of the way the women on this team have handled the situation and the work they have put in to create a safe and healthy environment during early-season workouts and practice,” Rose said. “I am confident they will continue those efforts and we will come back as strong as ever.”

Penn State field hockey echoes the fact that this day has not been an easy one, noting that while this is not the outcome they were hoping for, they understand and appreciate that both the conference and Penn State have prioritized the health and safety of the student-athletes and community, according to head coach Char Morett-Curtiss.

VP of Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour said that Penn State Athletics support the conference’s decision to postpone fall sports.

“A piece of our student-athlete’s collegiate experience has been taken from them for reasons beyond their control and for that, I am heartbroken,” Barbour said.

Barbour noted that the student-athletes are a resilient bunch and will handle today’s news with the same resolve as the winter and spring student-athletes did and will be better for it in the end.

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