The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an evolving situation as it relates to Johnson & Wales University athletics and the university's plans for intercollegiate athletic competition for the 2020-21 academic year.
Director of Athletics Dr. Greg Waggoner is reaching out to all JWU Denver student-athletes (new and returning) to provide an update on the work that is being done by the athletic department on behalf of its stakeholders to ensure a safe return to competition.
- The past three months have been very challenging for our student-athletes, and Dr. Waggoner is proud of how our student-athletes have handled this time of such uncertainty
- Wildcat Athletics is part of JWU Denver's Crisis Management Team, which has been working on all aspects of COVID-19 since early March. The Crisis Management Team works closely with the entire JWU university-wide system as well as federal, state and local health organizations to ensure decisions are being made in the best interests of our students. The Crisis Management Team stays up-to-date through a variety of means, including resources from the NCAA, participation in committees and meetings with the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and through active membership of professional organizations such as the National Athletic Trainers' Association and National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics
- A lot of time and energy has been dedicated on behalf of our student-athletes in order to ensure a safe return. Dr. Waggoner promises that the athletic department will continue working tirelessly toward achieving that goal
- In early May, the Athletic Department Leadership Team began scenario planning to determine how our operations across all areas of the department will have to adapt and change based on COVID-19. Plans have been established with a variety of scenarios in mind, with one of the most important factors being when academic classes start and in what format. Our coaches have been active participants throughout this process and have been remarkable with everything they've considered and proposed
- The department's ongoing scenario planning addresses procedures and protocols in a number of different areas, including practices, home competitions, away competitions, athletic training, travel, Fitness Center operations, facilities, laundry, film sessions, study sessions, equipment, residential life and more
- The department's scenario planning is a constantly evolving exercise that continues to change as new information becomes available
- Late last week, the NCAA Division III Administrative Committee announced that the minimum number of contests required for sports sponsorship has been reduced by 33 percent in all sports for the 2020-21 academic year. This does not mean schools are required to reduce their number of contests. A decision has not been made yet by JWU nor the SCAC on how the NCAA's announcement will affect scheduling for 2020-21
- The JWU Denver Athletics COVID-19 Action Team has been established. The goal of the Action Team is to refine an action plan to resume and operate athletic practice and competition that is compliant with all relevant JWU and governmental agency, NCAA and SCAC restrictions and mandates. The Action Team has representation from a variety of departments across campus, including Campus Safety and Security, Health & Counseling Services, academics/faculty, coaches, athletic training, student-athletes and others
- Although we don't anticipate all decisions to be made within the next couple weeks, we do expect some decisions will be made by mid-June and that we'll know more about the direction we're headed at that time
- We plan to communicate with you periodically to bring you up to date on any new decisions and developments so you can be aware and plan accordingly
- We're aware that other universities have come out with announcements that are more firm, and we wish them well. However, our approach to this entire situation is to be as thoughtful as possible, gather as much information and data as possible, and to be deliberate and careful with our planning and communication
- Before you hear from us again, stay well, stay healthy, be proactive in your mental and physical health and please continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene. Keep your guard up and continue to be thoughtful about steps you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. An increase in cases could adversely affect our ability to move forward with our plans and the pace at which we wish to have