Sports is often a way that students disconnect from their daily school routine. With many changes this semester, a group of students are left without a place to disconnect as basketball has been restricted in the Iles Gym for the unforeseeable future. According to Intramural Director Troy Walker, “Basketball has not been approved by the administrative Covid-19 Task Force Committee.”
This decision has impacted several students on campus that use the sport as a way to destress and spend time with friends.
Junior nursing major Robert Estrada finds it very frustrating that students aren’t allowed to play basketball in the gym.
“We are allowing sports such as futsal and floor hockey, [which] have just as much physical contact as basketball, however they are allowed and basketball isn’t,” Estrada said.
According to sophomore physical therapy assistant major Kory Cotton, he hasn’t been able to play basketball since the start of the semester.
“I play basketball as a way to unwind,” Cotton said. “It keeps my hands and mind occupied. It also allows me to make new friends.”
The COVID-19 Task Force Committee has not yet made a final decision in regards to allowing basketball intramurals in the Iles Gym next semester.
“We are in the process of reviewing our COVID-19 guidelines for first semester and determining what we will be doing for the second semester,” said University President David Smith.
In the meantime, students have found a new place to play basketball at the Collegedale Adventist Middle School (CAMS) outdoor courts.
“While it does give us a way to play basketball, it still is not the same,” Estrada said. “Not allowing us to play in our gym has also created a greater opportunity for Southern students to be exposed to COVID-19.”
Many people from the surrounding area use the CAMS outdoor courts to play, according to Estrada.
Estrada feels that if students were allowed to play in the Iles Gym, they would at least have the security of everyone in the gym being a Southern student and that they have gone through the daily screening process.
Junior accounting major Josh Esten said that while he sometimes wears a mask while playing at CAMS, the risk is still present due to playing with those who are not from Southern’s campus.
“We have to play against strangers and I don’t know who they hang out with,” Esten said. “I don’t know if I can trust that a complete stranger is taking the protective measures for himself.”