Penn State vice president of intercollegiate athletics Sandy Barbour reached out to the university community and fans Wednesday, in a letter that detailed the “unbearable void” everyone feels as a result of the coronavirus pandemic shutting down winter and spring sports competitions.
Released on what was to be the first day of the Nittany Lions’ spring football practice, the letter, which began “Dear Nittany Nation,” spoke of the last week being “like no other in our history” and the dramatic impact it has had on student-athletes, coaches, and staff.
“Our week started on a high as we looked forward to NCAA Championship competition for many of our winter sport teams, and our spring sport teams dispersed for packed spring break competitions,” Barbour wrote.
“By the time we reached week’s end, the remainder of the year’s winter and spring sport competitions had been shuttered, leaving our students, coaches, staff and community with an unbearable void. The NCAA, Big Ten Conference and Penn State University had all taken unfortunate, but fully necessary steps to help protect all involved in college athletes across the country, and throughout each of our local communities.”
Barbour said the university “will continue to make decisions that provide for the best health and safety conditions for our student, faculty and staff.” She also said coaches and support staff “are working diligently to provide virtual support to our students academically, athletically, for their mental and physical health, and for continued student development.”
She added, “When the time is right, rest assured that your Nittany Lions will be a strong and vibrant part of the return to normalcy, and a powerful platform for the resurgence of our campus and local community.”
Also Wednesday, Penn State extended its cancellation of in-person classes through the remainder of the spring semester and the postponement of spring commencement ceremonies.