We wanted to bring to your attention an urgent issue with Delaware Valley University’s new travel policy, which was revised on January 11, 2022. Our son Daniel is a sophomore wrestler in college. He is unvaccinated, has completed an exemption form, and has fully complied with required COVID testing three times a week at our expense. He recently learned that extended team trips are now only for vaccinated students.
Just to be clear, Dan can train every day with the team, take a one night trip but not two nights. The regional wrestling competition at Lycoming lasts for two nights. Does the administration think 24 hours will make a difference in the safety of the DelVal community? Unless every participating college in the area has the same travel protocols, which they don’t, every other wrestler on DelVal’s team will be exposed to an unknown number of unvaccinated competitors. Therefore, the policy is of no benefit to DelVal athletes, only to the detriment of those who are excluded from the trip. Has the administration considered the emotional and mental toll this travel policy has on the dedicated athletes who have dedicated years to their training? We speak not just for our son, but for all athletes whose end goal is the NCAA Championships.
Dan has worked extremely hard these two years on his studies and wrestling training. He even received the All-American award for his academics. Currently, his wrestling record is 30 wins (team best), he is ranked in the top 25, and qualified for regions and possibly NCAA championships. That being said, it is absolutely devastating for him to be excluded from team travel due to his vaccination status. He is a healthy athlete in excellent physical condition. If Dan is not cleared to attend regionals on Feb. 25, he will have lost one year of NCAA eligibility.
We must also point out that the new travel policy is in direct conflict with the published Student Athlete Handbook. On page 4 of the DelVal Student Athlete Handbook it states, “(p) Emphasize in-season regional competitions and conference championships; (q) Support student-athletes in their efforts to achieve high levels of athletic performance, which may include opportunities to participate in national championships, by providing all teams with adequate facilities, competent coaches and opportunities for appropriate competition.
By not allowing students to travel to regions or championships, DelVal is not supporting athletes, providing appropriate competitive opportunities, or emphasizing in-season regional competitions.
We have already contacted the university’s athletic director, head nurse, assistant to the president, vice president of students and the president of the board of trustees. In those emails, we offered to provide Dan with antibody tests, as well as pay for all of his travel expenses so as not to burden college if the coach chooses to house him separately. The DelVal administration is not willing to compromise or make accommodations for this arbitrary policy.
Peter and Jo Ann Eckley live in Buckingham.