“A jolt and a shock”: COVID-19 shuts down UNF Athletics spring sports

Drew McDonald, Sports Editor

Featured image by: Britt Moore

Eddie Miller was supposed to play in a weekend series against Illinois State. Instead, the senior pitcher is sitting on his couch wondering what the next step is. 

The ASUN Conference announced that all intercollegiate play is cancelled for the rest of the academic semester. 

The ASUN Conference Presidents’ Council took action today to officially cancel all intercollegiate competition, regular season and championship segments, for all spring sports,” the release stated. 

Darvin Nelson
Beach Volleyball is among one of the spring sports being cancelled this season.

“It affects my schedule tremendously,” Miller said. “I’m used to staying busy, lifting weights, playing ball and going to class. Right now, I’m sitting on my couch doing nothing. It’s free time that I don’t want.”

With the season being cut short, it hits home for Miller because he never got the chance to properly have closure in playing baseball at the collegiate level. 

“It’s a feeling that’s tough to deal with and every athlete should get that closure,” Miller said.  “Knowing that I’ve thrown my last pitch on the mound kills me, especially when my family couldn’t be there.”

For UNF Baseball Head Coach Tim Parenton, this is the most shocking season in his twenty-plus years of coaching. 

“It’s crazy that they didn’t get a chance to play for a conference championship,” Parenton said. “It’s like a jolt and a shock.”

Besides the seniors, Parenton has his hands full dealing with redshirt issues and walk-on student-athletes. 

“In some sports, it’s a full scholarship and that’s not for baseball,” Parenton said. “Some players are walk-ons and are paying their way through.”

Despite cancelling all winter and spring championships, the NCAA did announce that seniors in spring sports would be granted an extra year of eligibility. That may complicate student-athletes’ plans of graduation and pursuing their careers. 

“I haven’t made a decision yet,” Miller said. “I was dead set on finishing my baseball career and starting in accounting. I would like there to be an option, though.” 

Throughout his four years, the southpaw with a back foot slider that buckled batters knees has been grateful for his time at UNF. 

“I would just like to thank the UNF family for bringing me in and giving me a shot,” Miller said. “The memories and friendships I made will last a lifetime and I’m forever grateful.”

Miller finished his UNF career with a 4-6 record and a 3.68 ERA. In his last game as an Osprey, he earned the save in the 9-5 win over Ohio State.

In the span of two days, it seemed like a firestorm of sports suspending play but at the end of the day, some things are bigger than sports. 

“The one thing we can’t do is worry about the athletics part of it,” Parenton said. “Let’s wait this thing out and have the players come back in a couple of weeks, work on their online classes, get a degree and graduate.”


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