While we have a come a long away as a society, nation and planet with regards to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are still chilling reminders that it is not yet in the rear view mirror. Carnegie Mellon’s situation surrounding the Division III football championships highlights that reality. The university requires weekly testing for all varsity sports, and had a few members of the football team test positive for the virus ahead of the playoffs.
As a result, they were not able to participate, which is a disappointing turn of events for the program.
“Our team had a remarkable season, and they earned the privilege to compete at the highest level,” said Carnegie Mellon Athletic Director Josh Centor. “While we won’t be able to play, this does nothing to diminish the accomplishments of each and every member of our program.” Via Athletics.CMU.Edu
What makes this development even more disappointing is the notion that the team won’t be able to send longtime coach Rich Lackner off with victories in the postseason. Lackner has been the head man for 36 seasons, and has amassed 234 wins and 13 conference titles. He is retiring after this season, and his players have loved the atmosphere he created.
“I was focused on the game(the final regular season game), but it was hard not to notice what a big community and family Lackner has built with all of these players coming back to watch his final game,” said running back Tre Vasiliadis. Via Post-Gazette.com
Carnegie Mellon claimed a share of the conference with their victory in the regular season finale, and obtained an automatic bid for postseason play. Considering the timing of the positive tests, and larger national developments, it seems possible that had the playoffs been a few weeks later, Carnegie Mellon may have been able to participate. Booster shots were authorized for emergency use on November 19th for everyone 18 years of age and older. We don’t know if every player or staff member would have been able to get one, or have had the chance to, but in a slightly different world, the football team may have had the chance to get hot and go on a run.