On March 19, Western Kentucky University Director of Athletics Todd Stewart addressed Hilltopper student-athletes, coaches and fans during this unprecedented national situation. The open letter came a week after the NCAA canceled the remainder of winter and spring sports seasons and championships.
Stewart’s letter is as follows:
As circumstances change rapidly throughout our nation, I wanted to provide an update on WKU Athletics. This has been an unprecedented period, one in which an hour feels like a day and a day feels like a week. Given the magnitude of the challenges our country faces, we all know it is imperative that we alter our lifestyles immediately.
As most of you are probably aware, WKU will be moving to alternative delivery formats for all in-person spring 2020 classes beginning March 23. The vast majority of students, including all student-athletes except those with extenuating circumstances, will not be on campus for the remainder of the semester.
Additionally, all in-person events at WKU for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester have been postponed, canceled or virtualized. This includes the cancellation of spring football and all spring sports competitions and championships, as well as all formal and informal athletic practices and workouts until further notice.
Our athletes make many sacrifices in order to compete for a championship, and when this opportunity no longer remains it is a sad and unfortunate outcome. However, our first priority is always the well-being of our student-athletes, and we are working diligently to ensure their health and academic success once they depart campus.
We are making sure those leaving have all of the resources needed to transition into a different learning environment and succeed remotely in an online classroom setting. While these truly unique circumstances have been impossible to prepare for, sports constantly provide life lessons in dealing with and overcoming adversity. This is not the first time our coaches, athletes, staff and fans have had obstacles to overcome, and we will come through this the same way we always have — by sticking together.
The 2019-20 athletic calendar featured tremendous success on the field of play, in the classroom and in the community for WKU Athletics, making it even more disappointing to see it end prematurely. Our final record for our eight-team sports (baseball, softball, tennis, men’s and women’s basketball, football, volleyball, and soccer) was 129-51-1, an outstanding .715 winning percentage. In addition, our current 85% graduation success rate is the highest in WKU Athletics history.
This past Wednesday, I walked the upper concourse of Diddle Arena. The lights were dim and it was eerily quiet. While that seemed to symbolize the moment, at the same time I envisioned a future date with a sold-out Diddle Arena exploding with energy as all of you passionately celebrated another great moment. Those days will return to Diddle Arena and all of our other venues. And when we resume play in 2020-21, together we will celebrate all of our programs, athletes and successes like never before!