Virginia athletic teams will continue with scheduled games for the remainder of the season, though a decision has not been made yet concerning the football team’s upcoming game Saturday against Coastal Carolina.
Athletic Director Carla Williams and Football Coach Tony Elliott said a decision on Saturday’s game will be coming “soon” at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
“We’ll use our best judgment but … we will make a decision soon,” Williams said.
This was the first time Williams and Elliott addressed the community publicly and in-person following Sunday’s shooting, during which three football players — junior wide receiver Devin Chandler, junior linebacker D’Sean Perry and junior wide receiver Lavel Davis Jr. — were shot fatally. Two other individuals were injured, one of whom is being discharged from U.Va. Health today. The other remains in serious condition.
Aside from Saturday’s game, the Cavaliers also have an additional game scheduled against rival Virginia Tech on Nov. 26. These two contests would mark the end of the Cavaliers' regular season.
The men’s basketball game against Northern Iowa originally scheduled for Monday night has been the only canceled Virginia sporting event. Given this decision, the women’s basketball team is set to be the first team to resume play when it faces off against Loyola Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Elliott said the department is working to ensure that football players are together as much as possible, adding that extensive counseling resources have been pooled. In describing the first 24 hours following the shooting, Elliott said the team was immediately brought together in order to begin a process of healing and processing collectively.
“It feels like a nightmare,” Elliott said. “I'm ready for somebody to pinch me and wake me up and say that this didn't happen.”
Williams thanked those who have supported the department, including the Board of Visitors, University President Jim Ryan, Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis and community members and fans across the state and country.
“Their support of our student athletes during this time has been tremendous,” Williams said. “That has been a source of comfort for them to see how much support there is out there.”
Elliott echoed Williams’ statement, acknowledging the strength from student athletes as a pillar as well as his sympathy for the players and their families.
“My heart is hurting right now for, again, our University, our community, the team, the players, their families, the young men whose families have been impacted the most,” Elliott said. “That’s where my thoughts are at this time — trying to provide all the resources and support that I possibly can.”
Williams said she was thankful for the students who organized and attended the informal vigil held Monday night on the South Lawn. Thousands of students, faculty, staff and community members gathered to stand in solidarity with the team, who lined the steps of Old Cabell Hall.
“It was amazing,” Williams said. “It was remarkable to see all of those students out there supporting their classmates like that.”
Williams said that she and Elliott were in conversation with Robyn Hadley, chief student affairs officer and dean of students, about how best to support the players, the victims’ families and the larger athletic community.
Mental health resources for students on Grounds include Counseling and Psychological Services, Timely Care and the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center’s Counseling Services. Students can also donate to the GoFundMe’s directed towards the families of Davis, Perry and Chandler.