PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Richard Bland College has decided to suspended athletics for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year.

The Statesmen sponsor men’s and women’s soccer, men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, women’s beach volleyball and softball.

“This is by far the toughest decision we have ever made,” said Director of Athletics and Volleyball Head Coach Scott Newton. “Just notifying the athletes has been very difficult.”

Newton adds that the decision was not easy. In a statement Richard Bland College says, “The decision was based upon the most recent data and projections from the American Medical
Association (AMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

Athletes are allowed to transfer if they request to do so.

“It was in the best interest of the student athletes to suspend athletics for the year,” added Newton.

“It was very shocking, it came out of nowhere,” said Ellen Palya, who had her freshman softball season cut short at Richard Bland due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Palya plans to transfer and has started the process of finding a new school.

“I do want to play at the next level and play Division 1 ball,” said Palya. “I don’t want to take a year off but I also need somewhere to go.”

Palya has talked with not only her teammates, but other athletes from the college, and the news is still shocking to everyone.

“We’re just all kind of on the same page of what are we doing next,” added Palya. “We all became so close so quickly and so it’s pretty heartbreaking that I’m not gonna see some of them ever again.”