Given the uncertainty of the upcoming athletic’s season, student-athletes have been given an unprecedented opportunity. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, student-athletes have been given the choice to opt out of the season if they’re uncomfortable with playing.
Associate Athletic Director Eric Kramer broke down the process.
“Basically you have until Oct. 1 if you would like to opt out of participation,” Kramer said. “If you decide to declare that, you basically have to inform me as a compliance officer.”
Each team met with Kramer individually and were informed of the opportunity and what goes along with it. A couple of the requirements are that players aren’t allowed to be in contact with the team, and the only thing they are allowed to use is the athletic training room.
Kramer says that opting out doesn’t cost a student-athlete a year of eligibility.
“NCAA has allowed those students to not use one of their four seasons, and extend their ten semester limitation,” Kramer said. “They wouldn’t lose anything by opting out as far as eligibility is concerned.”
The four-season, 10-semester rule that Kramer refers to is the typical eligibility limit that NCAA gives student-athletes to complete their eligibility. Typically, a player would go through their four years consecutively, while some may potentially redshirt and use ten semesters before their eligibility is complete. With the postponement and realignment of schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA has waived that rule so that those who choose not to play don’t lose a year of their eligibility.
Among those that have opted out is Senior Drew Sachen, a defensive back on the football team. Sachen, who appeared in all twelve games last season, is in his last semester of college and will not be returning to Griffon football. Sachen broke down his thought process that led to his decision to retire.
“(The decision) had been going through my head the closer and closer the season started,” Sachen said. “I’m not going to be here next semester. It was either this fall semester I’m going to play or I’m done forever.”
Sachen is going into student teaching, as he starts the rest of life. He said he looks to start a full-time job next fall.
Sachen says that everyone has been fully supportive of his decision to move on from the game of football.
“They were sad about it, but they were also like ‘What is your plan?’” Sachen said. “I’m going to start life and they understood that.”