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Simpson Athletics Adapts to Unprecedented Changes

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

By Tom Higdon

Despite uncertainty, Simpson Athletics remains collected and steadfast after some unprecedented changes.

The only game being played this fall is the waiting game and the Red Hawks are doing everything they can to adapt. 

On Aug. 20, just before the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, the NAIA announced that all fall sports would have their seasons of competition pushed to the Spring 2021. Simpson athletics had to adapt in a number of ways. 

In previous years the women’s volleyball team would finish its season well before other indoor sports such as men and women’s basketball and men’s volleyball began their season in full force. Head women’s volleyball coach Mike Haworth has had to change the way his team’s season runs. He does see some positives in these changes though. “We get this whole couple months to really work on integrating some of the new kids and getting them accustomed [to training],” Haworth said. He also acknowledged that the wait can wear on the athletes, “It's hard when you start working hard and you don’t play until February. It's just such a long distance,” said Haworth who has coached for over 35 seasons at the club and high school level prior to coming to Simpson in January 2019. 

Photo credit: Tom Higdon

Another problem- there’s only one gym. Gym availability is an issue not just for Haworth and his team but for all indoor sports teams.  With the postponement, four teams will now have to share a facility that was already pressed for availability in previous years. “It's so much worse this year,” Haworth remarked. “We are going to have to be real flexible. Right now we are starting to see it impact us. We really don’t have that much time in the gym.”

New athletic director Tom Seitz said he is hard at work trying to give all our sports programs ample opportunity to train and compete despite these obstacles. “We are already starting to look at off campus alternatives,” Seitz said. Simpson is looking into any school that has a usable facility. From gym floors to soccer fields Seitz said he has his eyes on any facility that will allow Simpson athletes to train at any given time. The problem with using outdoor facilities not owned by Simpson is that many of them have limited access to their own students. These schools and facilities have little wiggle room to allow the Red Hawks to use any space they have available.  

Even with these obstacles ahead, Seitz said that all the coaches on campus are prepared to move forward with the coming athletic seasons. 

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