While navigating through the unknowns of COVID-19, second-year Athletic Director B.J. Pumroy remains confident that the protocols and precautions put in place by the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) and Hastings College will be a success.
“I feel very confident. We’ve worked with our Health District; we’ve worked with the governor’s phasing of operations,” Pumroy said. “Within the GPAC, we’ve worked together as all 12 schools come together, how can we best participate to pull this off? It’s gonna take a lot of self-sacrifice, a lot of self-discipline.”
Pumroy’s confidence hasn’t wavered much as he likes to be optimistic. However, he did feel a little unsure as the fall season drew nearer and uncertainty among college athletics grew.
“I just kept thinking, we’re gonna find a way that things will be okay. I don’t know if it’s just my nature of trying to be positive and finding ways for things to happen. I kept thinking something good is gonna come out of this,” Pumroy said.
Pumroy is not immune to worrying though, but those worries have been relieved as the season progressed.
“My big tipping point was when the Ivy League said they weren’t playing in the fall,” Pumroy said. “I thought it’d be like the way National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball went in the spring, where the Ivy League says we’re not playing and the dominoes started to fall. When they said ‘we’re not playing football,’ and I didn’t see the dominoes fall, that made me feel better.”
Barring an outbreak of cases, Pumroy doesn’t foresee any changes to the current athletics calendar. Pumroy stressed that while the teams want to practice and play, the best thing they can do is what they’re told. That includes limiting social interaction, keeping social distance and wearing masks.
While HC isn’t testing any of its teams for COVID-19, all schools in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) are required to submit daily reports to make sure that they are in compliance. Pumroy has been satisfied with the coaches’ cooperation with the protocols so far in his meetings with them. Pumroy has met with coaches multiple times and told all of the student-athletes his expectations.
“You’ve been told your whole lives as an athlete, ‘push through it, go through, just make yourself be uncomfortable to get better.’ And when you’re not feeling good now, don’t push through it,” Pumroy said. “Trying to change that mindset, I know, was one (topic) that I talked with the teams and talked with the coaches. I think it’s been more of a cultural shift, but I have pretty good confidence that what we have in place is working and coaches are following through on the process of what they’re supposed to do.”
Currently, HC is allowing 75% capacity at Lloyd Wilson Field and 50% capacity at the Lynn Farrell Arena. Masks are required for spectators to enter the facility and must be worn throughout the duration of attendance. Areas of off-limit seating are marked to ensure that correct social distancing is kept.
“I want to have our folks who feel comfortable coming to games come to games. We’ve got the social distancing in place. We’re mandating masks amongst our fans,” Pumroy said.
More COVID-19 information and access to online streaming of events can be found at hastingsbroncos.com.