Easter Athletic Exception for First Time in Years
by Gabriela Fitzpatrick | Staff Writer
SCRANTON — For the first time in years, athletics were in full swing at the University of Scranton during the Easter holiday.
From May 2 to 4, University sporting events continued on despite it being Easter break. Lacrosse, track and field, baseball and golf all competed, marking the first time in eight or nine years since the last time athletics were ever held the weekend of Easter, Randy Shemanski, Associate Director of Athletics, said.
In the past, athletic events were not held during the weekend of Easter due to the Jesuit nature of the University. This policy has recently changed in light of the pandemic.
“[It] changed when Fr. Quinn – whom the Quinn Athletics Campus is named after – was president,” Shemanski said. “It’s a policy we support in the athletics department, but we are also thankful that the administration has allowed our teams to compete on the Saturday of Easter break this year.”
The athletic department wanted to give their student athletes the best all-around experience possible, Shemanski said. With the pandemic causing seasons to be shortened, there is little room to adjust competition schedules.
“Our Distinctly-Jesuit Athletics Mission and Vision states that we will provide ‘the foundations needed for a championship experience at Scranton.’ That doesn’t just mean championships won in competition,” Shemanski said. “By allowing us to compete on Saturday, we’re able to minimize missed class time while still respecting the Good Friday and Easter holidays, which we feel supports our goal of a championship experience.”
Shemanski said that scheduling athletics during this weekend was convenient, and that trying to schedule around Easter break would have been challenging with the new COVID-19 athletic guidelines, such as rapid testing before competing.
Rapid testing has been the biggest barrier to athletics at the University, Shemanski said. In order to be eligible to travel to away games, meets and matches, student athletes must pass a rapid COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to competition if the team cannot socially distance, as per NCAA guidelines.
“We’ve had to work closely with student athletes, coaches and our athletic training staff, as well as the local lab that is doing the COVID testing, to ensure we meet those guidelines and keep our student athletes, coaches and staff safe,” Shemanski said.
After this spring season, athletics will go back to reserving Easter weekend and not scheduling athletic events during the break.