As student-athletes all through the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference await the information on the way forward for their seasons amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Wayne State University Athletics are again to practising as groups —with new restrictions in place. 

The Wayne State volleyball group has not practiced since March 9, however they returned to group practice periods on Oct. 6. 

Seen steadily at practices however lacking from this season are excessive fives, stated Olivia Fike, a senior enterprise main and center blocker. 

“We only fist bump now instead of high-fiving. We don’t really try to do too much,” Fike stated.  “Usually, at the end, we’re supposed to shake hands with everybody, but now we just wave from afar.”

Members of WSU volleyball group throughout a huddle at their Oct. 16 practice.

As the consultant for Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Volleyball to the NCAA National Committee, head volleyball coach Tim Koth has studied assets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization on COVID-19 to find out how to hold his group protected, he stated.

“We want to be really conscious of following those basic things because the reality for us is one bad decision, one handshake with someone who is positive, then I become a carrier and a transmitter,” he stated. “Until we have either a vaccine or more access to rapid tests, we’re gonna have to be conscious of these things.” 

Prior to the pandemic, volleyballs have been solely sanitized as soon as per week, Koth stated. Now they’re sanitized each day and utilized in smaller teams —with 40 to 60 balls being utilized in practice quite than 125. 

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Members of the Wayne State girls’s volleyball group preparing to obtain a serve throughout a scrimmage. 

Student-athletes steadily disinfect their fingers, Koth stated. Volleyball gamers have bottles of hand sanitizer subsequent to their chairs. 

“They hand sanitize, take their drink, then use the hand sanitizer again and then they come back,” Koth stated.

Another change is the introduction of face masks. Student-athletes should now put on face masks always, together with throughout practice and within the locker rooms, Koth stated.

Practicing with face masks on will be troublesome for quite a lot of causes, Fike stated, however carrying them permits athletics to proceed in a protected method.

“The mask is just really distracting. Like you have to deal with it and, sometimes you keep moving it and when you get all sweaty it gets even worse,” she stated. “It feels like we’re breathing in a lot of hot air so it’s almost hard to catch your breath sometimes.”

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Members of the WSU volleyball group spiking and blocking throughout a scrimmage.

Wearing masks is a mandatory step to shield public well being, Koth stated.

“Yeah, personally I don’t like wearing the mask. It’s bothersome to me. I understand the need for it and I’m willing to put myself in that position to ensure the safety of myself and everyone else,” he stated. “I’m just happy to embrace it because of where we’re at. We don’t have a choice, so let’s just embrace it and move forward with it.”

WSU has additionally mandated random COVID-19 testing throughout all sports activities. The WSU Athletic Department has enacted this rule to forestall a COVID-19 outbreak from occurring, Koth stated. If a participant have been to check optimistic or break security protocols, their complete group would even be examined. 

“The idea is that somebody in the batch is positive, we test the whole team. If not, then we assume that everyone in contact is in a good place,” Koth stated. 

Members of the group additionally strive to decrease the variety of individuals they arrive in touch with outdoors of practice, Koth stated. 

Testing at colleges performed into the GLIAC’s resolution to droop in-person sports activities this fall, Koth stated, with the NCAA requiring substantial testing, which was troublesome for some colleges to implement. 

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Summer Farris going up for a spike throughout practice. 

If the GLIAC have been to resume sports activities competitions in 2021, student-athletes would love to see colleges observe testing protocols, stated Jenna Kray, a freshman enterprise main and center blocker.

“At Wayne State, we’re being proactive about safety and guidelines,” Kray stated. “So it can be nerve wracking to go to another campus where they’re not taking those precautions and then you might bring back whatever you get over there.” 

The objective of an in-person season motivates Fike to proceed enjoying, she stated.

“It helps to have these people (teammates) so that you want to be better, not only just for you, but for them too. You’re constantly thinking about others. Although, we’re all hopeful that we will have a season soon,” Fike stated.

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Rachel Malinkowski going up for a spike throughout practice. 


Irving Mejia-Hilario is sports activities editor for The South End. He will be reached at

Photos by Quinn Banks, multimedia editor for The South End. He will be reached at