The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) have shut down sports including the spring golf season.
Kindersley’s Brody Istace is in his second season as Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. Istace and his Ram teammates recently played an event in Alabama, but the season was scrapped shortly after. Istace is on his way home to Kindersley on Tuesday and will take online courses. He said the news was upsetting.
“It’s disappointing for sure because golf is what we love to do and this takes it away,” Istace said. “I’m just lucky I’m not a senior, I have two years left.”
Istace added that he feels for his teammates and other seniors across the nation.
“You expect it at the end of your season, but you don’t expect it midseason to be taken away from you,” he said. “I don’t know how I’d deal with that if I was in my final season. It’s hard enough knowing you are done at the end of the season little own having it taken away from you.”
Southern Arkansas University senior Kade Johnson is in that predicament. The Yorkton product is in his fourth and final year of collegiate golf. The NCAA is allowing another year of eligibility for students due to the shut down. Johnson said the team was in a great place to start the spring campaign.
“We won our first tournament of the season on Tuesday and then two days later our coach called us together during practice to tell us we’re done,” Johnson told Golf Saskatchewan. “It’s pretty crazy how it’s turned. It hasn’t sunk in yet, there’s a lot of decisions that need to be made. It’s pretty crazy right now.”
The 2018 Saskatchewan amateur men’s champion has a college win and has helped the Muleriders become a force on the NCAA Div. 2 golf circuit. He said his future is up in the air, but he’s satisfied with his career in Arkansas if this is the end.
“It’s awesome. I got that win and then we have a good coach, we all get along really well, it just sucks the way it ended. We have some guys playing well, Roman (Timmerman) just won, we have a freshman this year that is freshman of the year if our season didn’t end. It’s been great, if I don’t come back I’m very happy with how it went. If I do come back we will get after it with more experience,” Johnson said.
Regina’s Alex Schmidt plays for the Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho. Her second season is also at an end. Schmidt is coming off a fourth-place finish which makes the shut down discouraging.
“It was definitely disappointing with the timing, unfortunately we were only able to play one tournament,” Schmidt said. “I shot 81-76 and placed fourth but our team didn’t play the best ever so we’re disappointed we couldn’t host and play in our own tournament that was scheduled for yesterday and today.”
Schmidt, like most students across North America has been receiving updates via email regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. She said the Lewis-Clark golf coach gathered the team on Monday and notified the squad that the season was over. The NAIA is giving athletes a year back meaning Schmidt will have three years left of eligibly. She said there is some positives.
“That is the nice thing, honestly I have more time now to practice, play, and get better. I hope to come back next year and help my team get better,” she said.