Arkansas shortstop, Braxton Burnside, was off to a hot start this season, hitting .392 through 25 games. But it all came to an abrupt stop when the season was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
While it was upsetting for every athlete, Burnside’s frustration ran a bit deeper.
A transfer from Missouri, Burnside sat out all of the 2019 season and was finally getting a chance to play for the Razorbacks.
“You’re working, working and working to come back,” says Burnside. “Then to have this season just ripped away it’s like oh my gosh. I’m trying my best just to play softball for the Arkansas Razorbacks and it hasn’t been meant to be I guess for the past two years.”
The Paragould native says her decision to transfer to Arkansas began when her coach at Missouri was fired. But once she stepped foot on the Arkansas campus, she knew that’s where she wanted to finish her college career.
“After the visit there were no questions,” says Burnside. “The staff was great. We met in coach Deifel’s office and I told them this is where I want to be. I’m just so grateful I got the opportunity to be a Razorback.”
Now, thanks to the NCAA, she’ll have the opportunity to play an extra year at Arkansas. However, she’s not sure she will take advantage of it just yet.
“This next year will be my 5th year,” says Burnside. “Then the extra year would be my 6th year so that’s a decision I don’t have to make right now.”
Burnside does agree that allowing all Division I athletes and extra year of eligibility was the right decision though. Saying, “you only get four years to try and break records. You only get four years to try and win a championship. Seeing that cut down to three for freshman, or anyone for that matter, is just really disappointing.”
Regardless of who takes advantage of the extra year, every player deserves the opportunity to end things on their own terms. Burnside, and every other Razorback, has that chance now.