COVID-19 Causing Supply Shortages In Sports

David Hull, Sports Writer

   Ever since the first COVID-19 lockdown began in 2020, stores and vendors around the world have been in short supply of merchandise. Schools, including Trinity, have struggled to restock supplies and sportswear. As a result, many teams have had to resort to using old gear.

   Although shortages did not affect the teams’ ability to play, they did present some significant challenges to the season. One of the most egregious examples of delayed deliveries was when the football team received their pride pack clothing after the season had already finished.

   “Anything with pride packs and even equipment, all of it has delays in shipment, just like everything else worldwide,” Athletic Director David Langdon said. 

   Trinity was able to cope with the delays by going outside of their original vender, Baker’s Sports, and sometimes out of the Under Armour brand.

   “The supply chain issue made it so we couldn’t get all our products that were Under Armour,” Langdon said. “So, sometimes we would go outside our vendor to get things that they did not provide. You will sometimes see on a shirt the brand Holloway or Badger, which are all good things as well, they just didn’t follow underneath the brand.”

   The original plan to work around COVID-19 was an online store where athletes can order all Trinity clothes and sportswear and have them delivered directly to the recipient’s house. The home store had to close after fall because the majority of the fall athletes did not receive their orders until the end of their season.

   According to Langdon, Trinity would like to reopen the online store in the future but it looks very improbable this will happen anytime soon. To ensure students do have sportswear for their sport when it finally arrives, all sizes are ordered and estimated so that everyone should have what they order.

   Assistant Athletic Director Rita Kienle said in an email that preordering for the winter sports was necessary after what happened in the fall, but it also caused many issues like overstock and athletes not receiving their preferred size. 

   “For the spring, we did the same thing as the winter season except that we ordered a month earlier and had the vendor double-check the stock on the items we wanted to ensure they would arrive in time for the season,” Kienle said. “The spring season just began, and we are only short a couple of things, and the items we are missing should come before the first game.”

   Unlike most sports, the archery team was forced to cancel its inaugural season due to the late shipments. Head Coach Ann Skippers said that her supplier, Lancaster, continuously postponed the arriving date from December back until March.

   “Even if I had received all of the equipment in March, it was past the point where I would be able to assemble all of the equipment and get it into the students hands,” Skippers said.

   Langdon said a good reminder of how long this has lasted was the resurfacing of the track. Many of the companies contacted were unable to get their product ready until the end of spring after the season had already started.

   “I don’t know if anybody knows when we’ll get back to where it used to be,” Langdon said. “It’s going to take a long time, and we take it for granted how great it used to be.”