November 13, 2020 

CSUN unable to play due to player opt-outs

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on college athletics, and the Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team became the latest casualty

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Cal State Northridge’s home arena. (Photo courtesy of CSUN)

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on college athletics, and the Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team became the latest casualty.

On Thursday evening, the school announced that they would not be fielding a team this season in response to several players on the team opting to sit out the year. The NCAA had mandated that all schools give student-athletes the option to sit out the season over health and safety concerns related to COVID-19.

Any student-athlete that chose to sit out would still retain eligibility. The NCAA also approved an extra year for student-athletes to complete that eligibility. CSUN had 12 players on the roster to begin the season and six of them decided to opt-out.

With only six available players, the Matadors were unable to field a team capable of playing. In a statement released by the team, players cited health concerns as the driving force behind their decision.

“As a team, we came to the difficult decision that we will not compete this year. Since there are only six of us and the physical health concerns from the wear and tear of a full season with back to back competition, we are prioritizing our health and safety during this global pandemic. We love the game and we are competitors. We will use this time to focus and prepare mentally and physically to compete at a high level and full capacity for the 2021-22 season.”

This was set to be the first season since 2009 without Jason Flowers as the team’s head coach. He had stepped down in the spring and longtime assistant coach Lindsey Foster was set to take over the helm. She had been with the team as an assistant since the 2010-11 season and was named associate head coach during the 2014-15 season. She also released a statement in support of the team’s decision.

“We engaged and listened to the concerns of our team and feel this is the best decision for their health, safety, and well-being. As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, our staff will continue to find creative and safe ways to develop our players. We are united in this approach and we will use this time to get ready for the 2021-22 season.”

Written by David Yapkowitz

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