TROY, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s been a week since the coronavirus rocked the sports world, and schools like Troy University are still trying to work through the tall task of accepting their seasons are over.
“It’s unpredictable and unprecedented to see what has happened,” said Athletic Director Brent Jones. “I could not be more proud of the way our coaches, our student-athletes, as well as our staff, has handled this. This is not something the Sun Belt Conference or the NCAA or Troy University or Troy Athletics takes for granted or something that we wanted to do.”
While COVID-19 has been difficult to navigate, athletic directors across the nation have agreed on one thing.
“I don’t think we had realized - I don’t think anyone had - that this was gonna be a pandemic, and that this was gonna take 3 to 4 months possibly to eradicate from the United States,” said Jones. “At that point, that’s when we realized that there was very little chance, if any, that we’d be able to hold any kind of competitions moving forward.”
Now, a week after the NCAA officially canceled spring sports seasons, the Trojans are moving forward.
Troy football coach Chip Lindsey and his squad have had to make a lot of adjustments to spring practice, but keeping the student-athletes informed is his top priority.
"It’s been a different time, for sure. A lot of things to cover for our staff. Just following up with our players every day, making sure they’re doing their assignments online, that they’re getting in some sort of activity as much as they can, working out on their own or whatever the case may be,” he said.
Jones said having to call coaches to tell them their season was over and to pack up and head back to campus after traveling across the country for competitions was gut-wrenching, but their motto, “One TROY” held strong.
“They handled it with grace, with integrity, with honesty,” said Jones. “Our coaches are disappointed because they are not able to compete, but what I’ve been trying to do is to let them know, ‘You are competing. You’ve got those four things - communication, academics, mental health and then the physical health,’ and I think they’ve really taken that on as an ownership.”
Looking forward, coach Lindsey’s full focus is on the team and making sure they remain “Trojan Tough” in this time of uncertainty.
"We just don't want those guys to feel like they're out of the loop for however long we're gonna be in this mode we're in,” said Lindsey. “So I think for us, we have to focus on our players, and the academic side of it as well as making sure they're taking care of their bodies and staying healthy as well as their family."
And, as unprecedented as it might be, the Trojans remain optimistic.
"The unknown is unknown, but we fully expect to able to have, come Sept. 5, Arkansas Pine Bluff inside the Vet with 30,000 people,” said Jones.