Drake University has canceled on-campus classes and activities for the rest of the semester, as well as postponed the 111th Drake Relays.
The postponement came with little information for the general public. Following the initial statement, the only thing coming out officially from the Relay’s board is a video posted to social media with no real update beyond the original report on April 2.
“The statement we made on March 18 is still likely the best source of information, and since that day I have not taken any other media requests,” the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays, Blake Boldon, said.
The postponement came before campus closure for the rest of the Spring semester, which prompts the question: What caused the choice to postpone?
“At that time, we were monitoring the situation very closely, along with guidance from local and national health authorities,” Boldon said. “Based on the guidance from those parties, it was apparent that hosting that large event in April would not be possible.”
According to an email sent to students by Drake President Marty Martin in regards to why Relays were postponed before the decision about the semester, he raised another point about why it had to be delayed.
“The widespread suspension of high school and college/university athletics and the ramp-up time needed for the Drake Relays left us with no choice but to make the decision to postpone that event earlier this week,” Martin wrote.
Based on the state of the country and world now, it’s obvious this event couldn’t have happened in April. With no information about when they are being postponed to, it generates the question: What does a postponed Drake Relays look like?
“As someone who has enjoyed all aspects of relays, track events, alumni BBQs, Peggy’s tent, postponing them will not have the same vibe or draw the same crowd as a traditional relays year would bring, rain and all,” Liz Harvey, a fourth-year pharmacy student, said. “It sucks for the track athletes, the local businesses, and Drake University as a whole because of the amount of traffic this event brings to the area. It also prevents all the alumni from coming back to reunite with their bros.”
If it’s held over the summer, it’s unclear what athletes would be able to compete, and Boldon made no statement on the subject. The other issue is whether an event will be safe to hold over the summer.
Angie Batdorf, a registered nurse at Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott, Arizona, has been on the frontlines of dealing with COVID-19.
“What we’ve heard or found from other places that have had this virus, I would say that we have at-least over this summer to get through the worst part of the virus,” Batdorf said.
Even to extend it in the fall raises questions. “It is hard to really determine if by the fall that thousands can gather at events,” Batdorf said