About 35 UW-La Crosse football players were supposed to be in Germany on Monday, what was planned to be the second day of a weeklong trip to the country that included a joint practice and a game with teams from Austria and Germany.
But before a contingent of about 50 players and staff were scheduled to fly to Dublin then to Munich on Saturday, a decision was made to not go on the trip because of concerns about COVID-19.
“The biggest thing, obviously, is to keep everybody safe,” said UW-L head coach Matt Janus. “Everybody’s taking different measures to try to stop this or at least keep it under control and help our health systems out.”
Along with sightseeing, the team was scheduled to have a joint practice with the Swarco Raiders Tirol, an American football team from Innsbruck, Austria, that plays in the Austrian Football League. The Eagles were also scheduled to play a game against the Fursty Razorbacks, a team from Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany, which is about 30 minutes from Munich.
Janus said players, who paid for their individual costs of the trip, understand the decision.
“The trip was to be an experience. It’s not like our track teams and our wrestling team that unfortunately get their senior years, their nationals cut off,” Janus said. “We were more for the experience.”
Janus said UW-L is exploring options for the players to not have their money go to waste, including a possible postponement until a later time, but no decision has been made.
Like many other teams across the country, the Eagles have pressed pause on their workouts. The coronavirus will also likely push back the start of UW-L’s spring practices, which were slated to begin in early April. In the meantime, Janus said he and his staff will continue to evaluate potential 2021 recruits.
“That’s kind of it for right now … see how this thing unfolds,” Janus said.
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