SF State women’s volleyball head coach Matt Hoffman coaches his starters during a timeout against Northwest Nazarene in the Main Gym at Don Nasser Family Plaza on Friday, Sep. 3, 2021. (Nicolas Cholula/Golden Gate Xpress) (Nicolas Cholula)
SF State women’s volleyball head coach Matt Hoffman coaches his starters during a timeout against Northwest Nazarene in the Main Gym at Don Nasser Family Plaza on Friday, Sep. 3, 2021. (Nicolas Cholula/Golden Gate Xpress)

Nicolas Cholula

Sports return to SF State campus for the first time in 544 days

Sports action took place on campus this past weekend for the first time since March 2020

September 10, 2021

Sports fields and gyms had been eerily vacant at campus since March 8, 2020, when the spring season abruptly ended due to COVID-19.

With two volleyball matches scheduled on campus this past weekend, that drought came to an end, bringing life back to the campus sports scene.

All of SF State’s fall sports—basketball, soccer, volleyball, cross country and wrestling—will have a season with organized games.

“To compete again, I’m so excited,” senior SF State volleyball player Drew Morris said. “That’s all I’ve been looking forward to for the last year and a half. It’s just my main thing that I want to do is compete with my team.”

The California Collegiate Athletic Association, the athletic conference in which SF State plays, has a vaccination policy for student-athletes in the conference. The CCAA states that “all student-athletes participating in CCAA-sponsored sports are required to be fully vaccinated,” and that there can be campus-approved exemptions for students due to medical or religious reasons.

“There could be a case where someone with an exemption just doesn’t get their test results back in time, so they can’t travel,” said Brandon Davis, SF State’s associate athletic director. “Even if one person weren’t able to play, a vaccinated individual would be able to take that spot in the travel roster or at home. One person may not be able to attend, but we should be able to field a team with no issue.”

Fans will be allowed at games this semester. For indoor sports, members of the campus community who have been approved to be on campus, along with friends and family who are on pass lists for both teams, will be allowed at games. Pass lists will be a limit of four people per athlete, and they must be vaccinated.

Outdoor sports are open to anyone, and tickets are being sold for those events. Fans must wear masks at any sporting event and information for contact tracing is being collected, according to Davis.

Many student-athletes and coaches have been eager to return to sports action and get back to a more normal routine.

“It was kind of like the first day of school after summer break, seeing all your friends again, only this time, it was a really long break,” said Matt Hoffman, SF State’s head volleyball coach. “And then it was just getting excited to be able to coach somebody in person again, and it was exciting for them to be able to play together as a group.”

“It’s been a blast and super fun to be around the guys again, and they’re so enthusiastic about getting back to work,” said Vince Inglima, SF State’s head men’s basketball coach. “That’s been great, it feels really good.”

SFSU Gators’ opposite hitter Izzy Issak, outside hitter Drew Morris, and middle blocker Chloe Henning (L to R) get into position as Taylor Garcia prepares to serve the ball against Northwest Nazarene on Sept. 4, 2021. (Garrett Isley/Golden Gate Xpress)

With all the safety protocols in place, there is a lot of hope among athletes and coaches that the season will be able to happen without any major setbacks.

The CCAA has a forfeiture policy stating that if a team does not have enough players to play in a game, it will be forfeited. Teams that forfeit a contest due to COVID-19 will be given a loss in conference play but their overall record will not be impacted.

“I think there’s a lot of optimism,” said Davis. “There’s always that possibility that one or two contests may be affected, whether it’s our institution or another institution. A lot of it depends on who we play, and who’s vaccinated and who’s not.”

Davis believes the number of student-athletes who are vaccinated is between 85-90%.

It has been a long wait for these teams to compete again, as this semester is the first time teams have even been able to practice together since the shutdown. Knocking off the rust may take time, but many other schools are in the same boat.

According to Hoffman, the volleyball team is getting back on track faster than he expected. The team’s 2-0 record over the weekend to start the season would show they are off to a strong start.

The other teams to have played in action this season are the men’s soccer team with a 1-1 record and the women’s soccer team, which is 0-2 so far.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Jack Davies
Jack Davies, Sports Editor
Jack Davies (he/him) is a journalism major in his final year of school. He is minoring in international business. He loves to watch sports and write about them, but also has an interest in potentially traveling the world as a salesman. He grew up in Napa Valley, California, and moved to the East Coast when he was 11 years old. He started his college career at Santa Barbara City College, where he wrote for The Channels publication as a sports writer. In his free time, he likes to play sports, explore the Bay Area, hang out with friends, listen to music, play video games and watch TV. After graduating, he wants to write for a sports publication and travel the world.
Photo of Nicolas Cholula
Nicolas Cholula

Nicolas Cholula grew up in Orange County, Calif., where he first picked up a film camera while working at a thrift store and quickly fell in love with photography. Nicolas chased his passion into community college, where he took his first classes in photography. Since then, Nicolas has become most interested in telling stories from his community and photographing current events. He is currently working toward his Bachelor of Arts in Photojournalism at San Francisco State University and works as the Multimedia Editor for the Golden Gate Xpress.

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