On Friday, May 15, Marquette University Provost Dr. Kimo Ah Yun announced changes to the academic calendar for the 2020-21 school year. The key phrases in the announcement from the provost’s offices are the following:
- “if governmental and medical authorities say it is safe to do so”
- “carefully developing our recovery plan that will lead to a safe, phased approach to reopening the campus”
- “We also have based these changes on Department of Education expectations for universities that distribute student financial aid.”
- “Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Mayo Clinic are predicting a likely resurgence of the coronavirus in late fall 2020.”
And so, taking all of that into account, here’s the quick rundown of the changes. For a full explanation as to what it all means, please check out the full announcement from Marquette here. I’m just hitting the highlights so we can dig into what this means for Marquette athletics, as this is nominally a sports blog website.
- Instead of the traditional “Monday before Labor Day” start to the fall semester, classes will begin, in-person and on campus, on Wednesday, August 26, 2020.
- Classes will end on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, which would normally be the final day of classes before Thanksgiving.
- The residence halls will close at that point, as final exams will be conducted remotely between Wednesday, December 2, 2020, and Wednesday, December 9, 2020.
- Classes will not resume for spring semester until Monday, January 25, 2021. That is a week later than originally planned. The semester will conclude on Saturday, May 8th, 2021. Final exams will be conducted in-person and on campus between Monday, May 10, 2021 and Saturday, May 15, 2021.
- Spring Break has been moved later and folded into Easter Break, and will run from Saturday, March 27, 2021, thru Monday, April 5, 2021, which is the day after Easter Sunday.
I think that’s it for the important notes in the changes. If you see something else in the press release, then please shout it out in the comments section. As someone who is not a Marquette student currently, maybe there’s something in there that seems ultra-important to y’all that I just glossed over.
And so, onwards to what this means for Marquette athletics.
In short, it appears that the main office at the McGuire Center is expecting the Golden Eagles to participate in their full planned schedules for the 2020-21 season. Recently, Big East commissioner Val Ackerman had a press conference call to address things in college athletics in general in regards to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as how things specifically apply to the Big East. Here’s the big quote, courtesy of Adam Zagoria:
“If our campuses aren’t open, we will not have athletes coming back.”
Well, Marquette is planning on being open with all students on campus. Thus, the conclusion to draw is that Marquette’s fall sports will begin their schedules as expected as much as they possibly can. Everything is completely dependent on other campuses being open and operational, of course. For example, the volleyball team traditionally plays a schedule in late August and September that has three or four road trips for a weekend tournament. If the hosting institution isn’t going to be open, well, then Marquette isn’t going to be going to that tournament. You can apply that concept to whatever other fall sports you want to apply it to, as well as to the rest of the athletic calendar.
Officially, the Big East has not made any finalized decisions about the fall sports calendar, and Ackerman said that a decision is coming in “mid-summer.” I presume that she means more of a metaphorical middle of summer than a literal one. Given the official first and last days of the calendar season, mid-summer is the end of July. That’s actually too late to make a call given the fall sports teams generally start arriving on campus in early August.
A decision about the basketball schedules won’t be expected until early September, which is when the Big East usually announces the conference schedules anyway. Ackerman said that the league is planning on basketball things to operate as normal when early November arrives, but she also said that the conference and its 11 member schools have to be prepared to make changes and adjustments as needed.
Obviously, that’s a lot of qualifications involved in a lot of things. But, with Marquette announcing a planned academic calendar with students on campus in late August, then we can infer what the plan is for athletics. The only question remaining is whether or not things remain on a positive track between now and then to allow the university to execute that plan.