Editor’s note: This article is a work of satire and as meant to appear in the Sagebrush’s annual April Fools special, The Tumbleweed. 

Amid cries of protest over an end to spring sports, collegiate women’s soccer teams around the nation have proposed a solution: hamster balls. Team members recently signed a declaration, promising to finish out the season in these plastic spheres to maintain social distancing guidelines.

Of course, the new game proposal comes with a few rule-changes and exceptions. Most notably, rather than being forced into a hamster ball, the goalies will be rolled in bubble wrap and given a tank-like breathing apparatus for their heads. The NCAA settled on this uniform to accommodate the goalie’s unique position. When worn correctly, the get-up looks somewhat like a bloated astronaut costume. 

Another change that fans will need to be aware of is how scoring works. In the new game setup, players will be allowed to score by knocking the opposing team’s players into their own goal. In fact, they’ve decided to get rid of the soccer ball entirely, as coaches have deemed it nothing but a safety hazard.

On the whole, fans have been widely supportive of the NCAA’s forward-thinking. Many have even expressed excitement over the revamped game-setup, suggesting that it may become a staple of the sport well after the pandemic has ended.

And, perhaps the most touching part of the whole story is this: senior athletes on the team are thrilled that they’ll still have the chance to continue the season from the cramped confines of their own personal sports bubbles. 

The changes to the game will undoubtedly be a difficult adjustment—but knowing student-athletes, they will surely rise to meet the challenge.