CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Just when the Illinois men’s golf team was getting things figured out, they lost their entire season. COVID-19 put a halt to their 2020 campaign, but the NCAA granted an extra season of eligibility to seniors participating in spring sports. Michael Feagles and Giovanni Tadiotto will come back for another year.
“We didn’t get off to the best start in the fall and we started to be Illinois golf in the spring,” says Feagles. “We started to play the way we’re supposed to play.”
“Right now we all have that feeling of unfinished business,” says Tadiotto. “We had a little bit of struggles during the fall semester, that was adverse and something unexpected and I think a lot of us learned a lot from it.”
Feagles and Tadiotto thought they lost more than the season, they thought their Illinois careers were over.
“A part of me was thinking that it wasn’t possible for it to end this way,” says Tadiotto.
“I wanna lead these guys in the right direction for one more year and then pass down the torch and let them carry their own team,” says Feagles.
They will do just that thanks to the NCAA granting 2020 seniors one more year of elgibility.
Feagles says he made his decision to return before the NCAA officially ruled that seniors would get an extra year. After the initial shock of it all, Tadiotto knew this was about more than golf, or sports in general.
“It took me a little bit to swallow it and to accept the decision that was made,” Tadiotto. “Our feelings were selfish because our experience but I think right now we’re in a situation that we’ve got to think more than ourselves and more about the community and everyone you know.”
Both are grateful for the extra opportunity. For Feagles, it allowed him to put a lot of things in perspective.
“For a couple days there I thought my days with Illinois were done so I’l never take those things for granted again,” says Feagles. “It’s an absolute honor and joy to represent the orange and blue and Illinois and I love it. I’m so passionate about the school, I just wasn’t ready for that to end yet and the fact that it almost did was heartbreaking.”
The other men’s golf senior, Bryan Baumgarten, has made the decision to go pro rather than return to Illinois.