Tarleton postpones inaugural Division 1 season to the spring

Tarleton football will not be returning for the fall. Tarleton football season has been postponed to the spring of 2021. As the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, conference and university leaders are making tough choices about the fall season across the nation.

The Fall 2020 season would have been their inaugural season in Division 1. Tarleton joined NCAA Division I as a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) independent team when the university joined the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) on July 1. The WAC currently does not sponsor football, which means all schools who join this conference will have to become independent.

“The health and well-being of our student-athletes, as well as our fans, staff and all the students of Tarleton State University, has always been our top priority,” said Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Lonn Reisman, in press release.

“I think it was the right move. We want our players, as well as everyone at Tarleton State University, to have a safe semester. It was a tough decision, but I think it was the right decision,” said Head Football Coach, Todd Whitten.

Many concerns about how they will keep players safe keep arising. During summer training majors Universities like University of Texas, Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University have all reported cases of athletics testing positive for COVID-19, all of whom have recovered.

Senior deep snapper, Stephen Reeves, said that training for this upcoming season has been unlike any before.

“Every morning we have to check in with the athletic training staff, and fill out a questionnaire before we are allowed on the field. We are spread out across the field every ten yards to fulfill the social distancing guidelines. It’s a lot more work for Coach Cole and the strength staff, but they have done a great job to make sure we stay safe and for us to get the most out of each work out,” said Reeves.

On Wednesday, the NCAA released guidelines intended to protect collegiate athletes, while expressing “serious concerns about the continuing high levels of COVID-19 infection in many parts of the nation.”

Forbes magazine posted an article on Aug. 10, stating that there are reports that later this week the Big Ten and Pac-12 might be delaying their season to the spring as well. According to Forbes this news is due to drop Tuesday, August 11.

There are many different feelings about football season getting pushed to the spring.

“When the NCAA decided to cancel the fall championship when the number of eligible playoff teams fell below 50%, it made the decision an easy one for us. We weren’t eligible for a championship this season anyway as a transitioning team so when that number fell below 50%, most other schools would likely opt out and try to compete for a championship in the spring,” said Whitten.

It would have been difficult for the Texans to play this fall.

Four of their 11 scheduled games were against former LSC foes Texas-Permian Basin (Sept. 19), Eastern New Mexico (Oct. 3), Texas A&M-Kingsville (Oct. 17) and Midwestern State (Oct. 24). The LSC announced Friday it was delaying all fall competition, including football, until the spring.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to play a full spring season. We are working hard to have a complete 10-12 game season with at least six home games. There were conversations about playing a fall schedule with only 50% fan capacity, would we be able to have tailgates and other things that just wouldn’t make it feel like football season. I think by moving it to the spring, we now have a realistic opportunity to have a complete football experience. I also won’t complain about missing the 100-degree temperatures at kickoff,” said Whitten.

The plans for COVID-19 for the fall semester seem to have a new update every day. Who knows what plans might change from today. There is no doubt that this will definitely be a season to remember.