COVID-19 continues to take a toll on the college sports world.
One recent development has created a dilemma for two former Maine high school basketball standouts.
Julia Colby of South Paris and Delaney Haines of Westbrook find themselves looking for a place to play and study after the New York Institute of Technology announced Thursday that it is suspending its athletics programs for at least two years because of financial implications caused by the coronavirus.
Colby, named Miss Maine Basketball in 2020 at Oxford Hills High School, signed a National Letter of Intent last November to play for the Bears. Haines, who played at Deering High in Portland, committed to NYIT last winter while attending Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut.
Haines and Colby are among approximately 250 student-athletes at the school in Old Westbury, New York, which competes at the Division II level.
Haines on Saturday announced her plight in a Twitter post.
“With the news from NYIT that they are cutting all sports for 2 years, I just want to say thank you to all the coaches at NYIT for believing in me. With that being said my recruitment is completely open,” Haines said.
Under NCAA rules, both Haines and Colby can transfer to another school and would be eligible immediately. The problem is, with students already beginning to return to campuses across the country, there aren’t likely to be a lot of opportunities available for 2020-2021.
NYIT said it plans to honor all student-athlete scholarships during the move away from athletics.
“We have a rich legacy in competitive sports and are proud of everything our student-athletes have accomplished over the years. We thank everyone involved in our athletics program for their spirit, dedication, and professionalism,” New York Tech President Henry C. “Hank” Foley said. “For the next two years, unfortunately, we will no longer be competing with our peers in the East Coast Conference (ECC) and NCAA Division II.”
Colby led Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School of South Paris to the first two Class AA state championships in program history during the last two seasons. She was selected for the Bangor Daily News All-Maine First Team last winter for the second straight season.
The 5-6 point guard was named Class AA North Player of the Year after averaging 17.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.6 steals while leading the Vikings to a 17-1 regular-season record and first place in the division.
Colby then was selected as the outstanding player of the regional tournament for the second straight season before scoring a game-high 22 points as Oxford Hills defeated South Portland 49-38 in the state final.
Haines was a two-time BDN All-Maine pick who earned second-team honors in 2018 and a third-team nod in 2019 after an injury marred her senior season. In her final winter at Deering, the All-Southwestern Maine Activities Association first-team choice averaged 17 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.6 steals.