(Ashland, Ore.) – The Southern Oregon University football team will forgo the shortened spring football season and look toward the fall, SOU Director of Athletics Matt Sayre informed Frontier Conference officials on Friday, Feb. 12.
“We don’t make this decision lightly, and know there will be some disappointed Raiders,” Sayre said. “But the goal is a quality, high-level playing experience, and we feel much better about our ability to provide that six months from now.”
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced earlier in the week that the Oregon Health Authority would revise guidelines that had halted full-contact sports in the state during the pandemic, but the timeline for a return to regular activity remains uncertain. The first contest on SOU’s four-game Frontier schedule – which was reduced from the standard 10-game slate after being postponed in the fall – was set for March 20.
“We feel we are not prepared for the rigors and intensity of a college football season, largely because our players haven’t tackled, blocked or had contact of any kind in 450 days,” Sayre said. “It’s only fair to make this decision now for our Frontier Conference partners to be able to reschedule and adjust travel plans, and for our student-athletes to have a definitive direction.
“We’ve had conversations with colleagues at Portland State University, University of Montana and other regional institutions about their decisions to opt out of competition this spring and gained good insight into the value of a clear direction with an emphasis on the fall of 2021.”
SOU will plan to conduct a regular spring practice schedule. Each of the team’s seniors will have the option of returning in the fall.
“It’s an extremely difficult decision and heartbreaking for our seniors who are looking at options for after college, but it is the decision that’s in the best interest of our program,” said Raiders head coach Charlie Hall. “We can prepare our team in a traditional manner and be ready for the fall.”
This story is reposted from souraiders.com.