Mandated Masks and Social Distancing Alter Beaver Winter and Spring Sports Seasons 


Tanner Frost

After a quiet Athletics season in the Fall and early Winter on the campus of Buena Vista University, many Beaver student-athletes set their sights on 2021 and the start of the new year to provide opportunities to finally compete.  

Now as the various Winter and Spring Athletics seasons are either underway or preparing to start, new rules and regulations ensure this year will be both hectic organization-wise, and COVID-19 free. 

With the addition of the debutant BVU Esports teams, eight Buena Vista Athletic squads will compete for the first time this academic year, five months after its start.  

The start of the 2021 athletic calendar year has already been marred with cancellations and unfortunate news. Both the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams have had to adjust their busy schedules to accommodate COVID-19 regulations, and regulation on limited spectators at events have had to reduce home crowd numbers, albeit for good reason and social distancing. 

The updated fan attendance policy for this season is as follows: For the sports of basketball, wrestling, and volleyball, each participant (including student-athletes and coaches) will be permitted two immediate family members, or four immediate family members for a split family, to attend games in Siebens Fieldhouse. Gameday event staff will also be permitted at home contests. No admission fee will be charged to attend home events.  

Alongside their 2-2 Wrestling counterparts, the Beaver Basketball teams continue to battle both COVID and ARC rivals into February, while the month will also make way for the first track and field meet of the year.  

Both track and field teams will (hopefully) host conference rivals Nebraska Wesleyan and Luther in the BVU Triangular on February 6th, making themselves the fourth and fifth teams to resume play…with a new Head Coach yet to be announced at the helm. 

February 20th will then see the Beaver Volleyball and Head Coach Aubrey Havlichek and her squad tip-off at home in Storm Lake for the first time since November 5th, 2019.  

Coach Havlichek and her team’s unique situation also matches that of Coach Minick, Coach Frayne, and Coach Mollring, the three leaders of the Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams and Football team respectively. Originally planning to traditionally play their respective seasons in the Fall of 2020, all competition was held off due to increasing COVID-19 cases across the nation, Iowa, and the BVU campus which was close to school-wide quarantine back in September. Taking initiative with the time allocated to them, the Fall sports Head Coaches adapted to the new schedule and unprecedented change of competition.  

The Winter months became a time of practice and perfection; increased focus and lifting, form, and film study proved opportunities still existed for competition. Albeit, at a later date than anticipated. As it stands, the January and February schedules of all teams competing or preparing to do so is rather hectic across the board. 

Mass organization is required to allot specific time in Siebens Fieldhouse and the BVU weight room for all seven athletic squads and their lifting/practice. BVU is also still requiring the Beaver student-athletes and coaches to physically distance themselves when possible and wear masks at all times to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Mandatory testing for athletic teams on a week-by-week basis has also been put in place, a significant change from the Fall semester. 

Thanks to the help of Head Athletic Trainer Nick Long, his team of AT’s, and the BVU Health and Wellness department, these mandatory testing times each week allow the staff to monitor student-athletes and contact trace results if need be. 

If a student-athlete were to test positive for COVID-19, those who commonly interact with the said athlete will be sent into quarantine as well as a safety precaution, either on-campus or be sent home if they live within a 6-hour radius of Buena Vista University. 

To finish off the Spring in typical fashion, a first for a school year as unprecedented as this, the Beaver Softball and Baseball teams hit their respective diamonds in yet-to-be-determined schedules. 

 Meanwhile, in Siebens Forum, the newly renovated BVU Esports room and their fledgling teams compete against Division I schools across the Midwest in online leagues and various games for the first time in BVU history. 

So far, the BVU Rainbow Six Siege teams have faced Indiana, Illinois, and other large Division I schools in the virtual FPS game, while the additional Madden 21, and FIFA 21 teams compete for the first time this week. League of Legends and Rocket League tournaments continue to be offered as well. 

Much like the more physical sports previously mentioned, Head Esports Coach Trevor Berneking and his teams are required to physically distance and wear masks, as well as sanitize their computer stations when finished playing. 

With a combined effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from all parties, whether a coach, spectator, student-athlete, student, or staff, BVU continues to adapt to the ever-changing process of competition in a pandemic. With future updates to be made and schedule changes most likely to happen, adaptability remains key for Buena Vista University Athletics.