Thursday, University of Colorado Athletic Director Rick George held an online press conference to offer an update on CU athletics.
George began the conference discussing the annual CU Sports Performer of the Year Awards (CUSPY’s) that took place earlier in the week. The CUSPY’s is an annual event put on by the athletic department to celebrate Colorado’s premier student-athletes. Although it was virtual, he was happy with the school’s ability to make the event still feel meaningful during this tough time.
“It’s one of the great nights that we have here,” George said. “All of our student-athletes dress up, they choose who the award winners are, they vote on them and then they get an opportunity to announce those winners. It is usually a very festive night. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do that in person, but it’s a really special night.”
Notable winners included men’s basketball junior guard McKinley Wright IV and cross country runner Joe Klecker on the men’s side, and women’s soccer senior forward Taylor Kornieck and alpine skier Mikaela Tommy winning player of the year on the women’s side.
The second part of George’s opening remarks touched on the retirement of Athletic Administrator Ceal Barry. To fill the void left by Barry’s departure, George has been looking inwards to find a replacement or replacements.
“It won’t be one person that will be having all the different roles that she has because, as you know, she served as a deputy, a senior women’s administrator and a sports supervisor for all of our sports,” George said. “I am looking at taking those to different people in our department. I have really good people that I think can fill those roles and I am hopeful that by the middle of next week that we will be able to announce what that looks like.”
George continued by discussing the reopening of Colorado’s training facilities and the future of fall sports. The Pac-12 announced they are allowing athletes to come back for voluntary workouts on June 15 and George said approximately 130 student-athletes have returned to campus to start training. He noted that all student-athletes will be using facilities with strict distancing rules and protective sanitation practices.
“We have great plans in place for what it will look like when a student-athlete steps back into our facility,” George said. “That has to do with workouts in different cohorts, with symptom checking every day and sanitizing our facilities in-between cohort groups.”
The reopening of facilities is a step in the right direction, but the fall season is still up in the air. University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano announced earlier this week that he plans to reopen campus in August. George was optimistic about what that means for fall athletics.
“I think the chancellor’s announcement was significant,” George said. “That was a real positive for me as I look at the fall.”
The return of professional sports and the reopening of campus has opened the door for progress towards a fall season. George has yet to discuss whether or not games will take place with other athletic directors, but he remains hopeful with a cautious approach. George is confident with the work being made to get sports back and more movement will occur as fall approaches.
Contact CU Independent staff writer Ben Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.