Hannah Lang '18 March 18, 2020 4:55 PM updated: March 24, 2020 4:17 PM
Texas A&M Athletics announced this week that the remainder of the 2020 athletics spring schedule has been canceled, as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of COVID-19. We talked to Director of Athletics Ross Bjork to hear an update on these new developments.
While these changes come as a disappointing reality for Aggie fans, Bjork is staying positive, and understands that we all must do our part to help contain this virus. “Everyone should be inspired by how our university leadership is responding, how our coaches have responded, and especially how our student-athletes have responded — with poise, grace, and understanding.”
Due to the ever-changing nature of this pandemic, much regarding the near future of A&M Athletics is still up in the air. While spring athletic events are officially canceled, Bjork says “it’s too early to tell” how fall sports will be affected. The athletics department is working alongside university officials, the NCAA, and state and government officials to plan how to move forward in this new normal. Bjork is focused on preparing student-athletes, coaches, employees, and fans for the future.
Full-time athletics employees have transitioned to working remotely, and a plan is being developed for game-day hourly employees that work at the facilities around campus. Most of these game-day employees are third-party vendors, and A&M Athletics is working closely with the necessary personnel to “do what we can to help in the best way possible.”
On March 13, the NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee addressed eligibility relief for spring sports, hoping to aid student-athletes whose seasons have been cut short by these cancellations. Bjork shared that there is an ongoing dialogue with the NCAA about the details of how this would impact scholarships, rosters, etc. “We’re hoping for more clarity in the next couple weeks.”
Bjork emphasized ways that the Aggie Network can continue to stand behind A&M athletics: “Stay involved, stay connected, support our teams to the best of your ability.” In the coming weeks, A&M Athletics is hoping to launch a platform where Aggie fans can send encouraging messages to student-athletes. Bjork wants fans to know that in the midst of this uncertainty, it’s about giving what you can—whether its buying season tickets, donating to the 12th Man Foundation, or just staying positive on social media.
In the end, he’s staying hopeful and determined. “What I want Aggies to realize is that when we come out of this, we’re going to be stronger than ever before because of the core values and culture that we have. That first Midnight Yell when we get back together, should be the best one ever.”
The Association of Former Students is one of four affiliates that raise money to help Texas A&M and Texas Aggies. The Association raises the university’s Annual Fund, which supports both current and former student activities, academics and traditions. The 12th Man Foundation funds scholarships, programs and facilities in support of championship athletics. The Texas A&M Foundation builds a brighter future for Texas A&M University, one relationship at a time, by uniting generosity and vision to raise and manage endowed gifts. The George & Barbara Bush Foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacies of President and Mrs. Bush by supporting the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and The Bush School of Government and Public Service.