It was inevitable.
The NAIA announced Monday the cancellation of the spring 2020 sports season, effective immediately.
"The announcement of the NAIA cancelling spring 2020 sports season has impacted our campus, but we agree with the NAIA and understand the Coronavirus (COVID-19) must be taken very seriously," said Cumberland University Athletic Director Ron Pavan.
"The safety of our student-athletes, coaches and spectators are of our utmost importance and we will comply with the CDC recommendations."
Cumberland University's Hall of Fame baseball coach Woody Hunt was not surprised by the decision.
"We knew it was coming. It's been a tough spring, weather-wise and everything else," Hunt said.
"This virus is the real deal. I can't blame the health officials and decision makers -- I'm not in their shoes, but if this (cancelling spring sports) saves one life, I think it's worth it."
Cumberland's scheduled Mid-South Conference weekend series at Georgetown, Ky. was cancelled Thursday and his coaching staff were expecting the team to be back in Lebanon Tuesday (March 17).
"That was the last thing we told them face-to-face," Hunt said. "Then we got the word about everything being put on hold until April 3.
"Now this. I've got a group text going out to the team, but I'm sure they all know because of social media.
"We've got kids flying back home to California, to Canada, to Arizona, to Florida, all over the place."
If there's a silver lining to this shutdown of spring sports, impacted student-athletes will not be charged with a season of competition.
Any spring sport athlete who is enrolled full-time in 2020 will be granted an additional season to play -- provided they remain academically eligible.
"That's what concerns me," Coach Hunt said. "Do these guys have the discipline to keep up and get their work done online?
"So, we'll see. A lot of things could change between now and the start of school in the fall.
"Nobody who's living today has ever seen anything like this . . . the NCAA cancelling the spring season, professional sports seasons being put on hold.
"But all in all, I'd rather our leaders overreact than under-react. We're talking about lives here."
Recruiting - "We've got a lot of work to do as far as recruiting goes," Hunt said. "Our seniors have been dealt a tough blow. They've got to decide if they want to come back and play before we can do anything about signing new guys.
"With the junior college season shutting down, high school sports on hold and possibly ending, we'll just work the phones and see what's happening."
NAIA statement - “All possible scenarios that would have supported a spring sports season were seriously considered by multiple NAIA governance groups,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr.
“However, the growing state of emergency due to COVID-19, as well as the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation yesterday to limit gatherings to fewer than 50 people for eight weeks, meant we could not in good conscience move forward with the spring sports season and championships.”
"In athletics, we understand that we must overcome many obstacles to be successful on and off the fields and courts."
Last week in advance of the blanket announcement, the NAIA cancelled the Division I men's basketball tournament in Kansas City, MO and women's Division I tournament in Billings, MT.
TN Wesleyan 12, Cumberland 2
ATHENS -- Defending NAIA national champion Tennessee Wesleyan pounded out 15 hits in a 12-2 win over Cumberland University Wednesday, March 11 -- the final action before the MSC suspended all spring sports activities.
As it turned out, the loss was the final game of the season for the Phoenix, who fell to 9-11 overall with the loss.
The Bulldogs (15-6) scored four times in the bottom of the seventh to invoke the 10-run "mercy rule".
Cumberland starter Christian Straub (0-2) lasted three innings.
He gave up six hits, four earned runs, struck out five, walked one and hit a batter.
The Phoenix managed just five hits, all singles by: Mykel Gordon, Josh Morgan, Tyler Jones, Jose Vera and Chandler Hughes.