BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -- COVID-19 has everyone feeling nervous and practicing ‘social distancing’. Texas A&M University announced on Friday that all of its June athletic camps will be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That decision was made close to the same time that the Southeastern Conference extended its suspension of all in-person athletics activities, including team and individual practices, meetings and other organized gatherings, whether voluntary or required, as well as camps and coaches clinics through May 31.
The Texas A&M athletic camps serve a variety of functions from introducing campers to the university as well as giving employment opportunities to current student athletes as well as other coaches.
“Our volunteer coach Katie Rapole came to us from Virginia. She left a full-time job to come to Texas A&M and how she gets paid is working all these camps,” explained A&M Head Softball Coach Jo Evans.
“Her not being able to make money working camps is obviously financially devastating,” added Evans.
Not only are Rapole’s finances affected, but also summer jobs for some current A&M softball players.
“It also is a way for our players to gain summer employment. They get paid a significant amount of money for working our camps and it allows them to interact with potential recruits and it's a big part of what they do in the summer,” continued Evans.
Texas A&M Head Soccer Coach G. Guerrieri also talked about the June camps being canceled.
“That is a massive financial blow to especially the soccer program because our camps are almost as big as all the other camps at A&M combined. I know it's a big hit to the athletic department in general," said Guerrieri
The veteran A&M soccer coach has hosted camps for over 25 years and his camps are very popular.
“In June we'll usually run about 1300 kids through camp so that's 1300 families that won't be coming to College Station to spend money,” added Guerrieri.
While there are some campers that wind up putting on the maroon and white and playing at Ellis Field, there are more that come to camp and later return to continue their education after high school.
“I wish I had the number of how many people are graduates at Texas A&M that said the first time that they ever thought about Texas A&M was when they were 11, 12, 13 years old,” explained Guerrieri.
“The camps hooked em and they ended up coming to school here and are now loyal donors to the university. I think you can multiply that by tens of thousands over the years and that's something that we also lose out on this year,” ended Guerrieri.
The Aggie baseball team is scheduled to host camps this summer, but Head Coach Rob Childress says the June cancellations won't affect them as much yet.
“Our camps start July 1st, so right now the month of July has not been decided by the university. That's something that once decided, we will act upon,” said Childress.
Right now A&M baseball has five different camps in July and August with different sessions ranging from Ages 5 to 19.