Director of Athletics Updates Villanova Community

Villanova Athletics released a video of Vice President and Director of Athletics, Mark Jackson, early Monday morning commenting on how Villanova Athletics has been adjusting to COVID-19 protocols. 

This video is one of the first highly publicized solo video released by Jackson to the Villanova Athletics community since the beginning of the new semester. The video was emailed to all student-athletes before being sent to the entire community, and it was posted to Villanova Athletics Instagram and Twitter pages.

As students enter their ninth week on campus, Jackson reinforced the importance of The CARITAS Commitment. 

Both the entire school community and Villanova’s varsity athletic programs must take this seriously in hopes of having a spring semester that is full of sports competitions.

Athletic programs have started up on Villanova’s campus as safely as possible. 

“Right now, each of our 24 varsity programs has resumed small group practice and strength and conditioning sessions,” Jackson said.

There have been a series of precautions that each sports team must adhere to if they plan to stay on campus and practice. Pods of four athletes have been created to help move forward with these precautions on each team. Photos of athletes in the strength and conditioning room, as well as on their respective mediums of practice, can be seen in this video. 

Jackson mentioned other highlights from the Athletics Department that have been posted on Instagram. He praised student athletes for their academic achievements. Athletes earned the highest GPA Villanova has seen, at 3.45 during the spring semester.  

Following the praise of the department, he made comments about social justice within the Athletics community. 

“The passion of our student-led 13% organization and our UNITAS initiative inspires me,” Jackson said. 

He commented on the amount of conversations he has been involved in over the summer after the death of George Floyd. Conversations brought to him by student-athletes, led by the organization 13%, which is spearheaded by Sanaä Barnes (Women’s Volleyball and Track & Field), Justin Covington (Football) and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Men’s Basketball). 

Jackson also added that the teams whose seasons were cancelled in the fall will hopefully pick back up in the spring. Additionally, he reiterated the Nov. 25 start date for men and women’s basketball.

“We are planning for a robust winter and a spring full of competition,” Jackson said.

Jackson anticipates that competition will start in the spring, and all sports will be able to have competitions following a series of policies when creating a schedule. To start, he mentioned a 27 game season which he did not describe any further. 

“We are currently working with our fellow Division 1 athletic departments here in Pennsylvania, our university, state and local officials to determine capacity levels for home events,” Jackson said. “We expect to finalize our policy in the near future.”

This video stirred excitement throughout the University community. However, there seem to be many questions that Jackson was unable to address in this three minute release. Student-athletes and fans of Villanova Athletics wait to hear more information to address the ambiguity of their championship seasons.