Like many universities around the country, Regent had to make a decision regarding their athletic programs heading into the 2020-2021 school year. I had the privilege of talking with the Regent Royals Athletic Director, Dr. Botta, to discuss what is currently happening and what is to come with Regent athletics.
Regent’s current sports programs are divided into Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons. The fall programs include Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Women’s Volleyball, and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country. Dr. Botta mentioned that workouts for these sports began in August, and the University intended for these seasons to begin, but the impacts of Covid-19 made the athletic department push back fall sports to the spring.
Regent’s winter programs are Men’s and Women’s Basketball and Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track. Basketball was the only team that had the opportunity to begin their competitive season. The Men’s basketball team played their first game, then traveled to Longwood University to play their second game of the season in December. Longwood requires on-site testing for Covid-19, and unfortunately, two of our student-athletes tested positive, which sent the team back to Virginia Beach. With Covid-19 cases rising around the country heading into the winter, Regent University leadership decided to cancel the winter sports season.
In January, Regent University made the announcement that all sports were canceled for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. I asked Dr. Botta what went into this decision, and he said, “There was an ongoing concern about the virus. Even with all the preventative measures in place the virus can still spread. The student-athletes were disappointed yet handled the decision well.”
I followed that question by asking him if he has kept up with the student-athletes to see what activities they are doing since athletics are canceled: “I have spoken with a number of the student-athletes. Workouts are individually based until it is safe for us to hold group workouts. Many of the student-athletes have become involved in ministry on campus and have been able to find jobs. The student-athletes have also been able to pour more time into academics, which is always a plus. Thankfully, our Regent student-athletes have remained safe during this uncertain time and have turned the situation into something positive.”
Dr. Botta did mention that recruiting for sports is going very well and that the University plans to resume athletics in the fall. He also wanted to emphasize that the athletic department is still very young, and that the focus is on building a strong foundation. Regent University is in the early stages of planning to build an athletic facility with several indoor and outdoor activity areas. Dr. Botta wanted to emphasize that these facilities will provide a gathering place that will help bring our student body and faculty together.
He said, “Many universities separate student-athletes from the students in spaces like dorms and activity and athletic areas. We want to create an atmosphere that brings our entire campus community together. This facility will only enhance the family-like atmosphere that already exists at Regent.” As the process towards building this sports complex moves forward, Dr. Botta believes it will lead to the start of more Regent athletic programs that may include baseball, softball, tennis, and several other sports.
I closed the interview by asking Dr. Botta if he had anything to say to anyone who is interested in Regent sports and he said, “We are committed to growing the Regent Royals athletic program and to challenge our student-athletes to pursue excellence. There are many different ways to measure success. We want to win, but if we have a lasting impact on the future of our student-athletes for the Lord; that is the biggest win for us.” If you want to keep up to date on Regent Athletics, you can visit their website at www.regentroyals.com