After a hot start to a season steeped in adversity off the field and loaded with questions on the field, Missouri softball’s 2020 campaign officially came to an end Tuesday.
Following multiple suspensions of play, the Southeastern Conference announced the cancellation of all regular season competition for the remainder of the 2019-20 athletic year due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Our focus is on preparing for the 2020-21 academic year, the fall seasons, as currently scheduled,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said Wednesday during a conference call.
Prior to the cancellation, Missouri had been playing its best stretch of softball of the year. The Tigers won seven of their last nine games, three of which came in SEC play. Missouri will be unable to finish the final 26 games of its season, most of which were against conference opponents. The Tigers finished the year with a 19-7 record.
“All of us associated with intercollegiate athletics are hurting for our student-athletes in the affected sports that have had their lives dramatically altered, but we realize the challenge that all Americans are facing,” Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said in a news release Wednesday. “Coach Anderson’s softball team was tied for first in the SEC and ranked 16th nationally ..."
Many of the athletes and coaches took to Twitter to reflect on the shortened season, including head coach Larissa Anderson.
I don’t know where to begin, other than I couldn’t be more proud of this team. You’ve overcome more adversity this past year & you responded with strength, loyalty, pride and purpose. You defined what #OwnIt means. Thank you for setting the standards for future Tigers to come. https://t.co/nBbut5Fiq6— Larissa Anderson (@CoachLarissaA) March 17, 2020
The NCAA has discussed the possibility of granting another year of eligibility to student-athletes for springs sports, but nothing is imminent. For Eli Daniel, the team’s lone senior, it is unclear if she’ll come back to MU. Daniel tweeted in gratitude Tuesday of the program and her teammates.
I love this team so much and can’t wait to see what they do ❤️ https://t.co/4ljKyi64Ts— Eli Daniel (@ratedEforevery1) March 17, 2020
Missouri softball is in the process of refunding fans who purchased season tickets.
In regards to the Tigers’ postseason ban for 2020, Sterk is still awaiting word from the NCAA on whether the ban will carry over to next season.