On Monday, the NCAA announced that it was extending the eligibility of athletes whose seasons were cut short due to COVID-19.
That’s good news to University of Hawaii senior softball player Callie Heen, who said she is definitely open to a return in 2021.
“Yeah, I am definitely open to it,” she told KHON2’s Ren Clayton. “I mean, going out the way that we did was not how anybody wanted it to go. Being a senior, working so hard all four years just to get to this point, it’s definitely nice to get the opportunity.”
Heen and third baseman Cheeks Ramos were the only seniors on the 2020 team. Heen, who is on pace to graduate in May, led the team in batting average, home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage before the 2020 season was cut short.
“Yeah, I think so. Coach Bob has welcomed me and Cheeks with open arms and is 100 percent for it, he’s like ‘We’re more than welcome to have you guys back,’ so that’s a good feeling,” she said.
As much as the team would welcome the opportunity to finish what it started, the NCAA has left it up to each school on how it will handle it.
Extending eligibility may be a challenge for a school like UH, whose athletics department was nearly $3 million in debt in 2019.
“I think it makes it harder on the school to come to a decision for the administration and stuff like that to figure out what they want to do as a whole,” Heen said. “I’m hoping that they do the right thing and figure out a way to fund all the seniors scholarship-wise. Not all sports can do that.
“We were fortunate enough to only have two seniors for coach Bob so I’m not sure. I’m hoping they do the right thing.”