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Cal Poly, Chattanooga Drop Out of Spring Football

Brock Fritz

While the general public has primarily shifted its attention away from football, the COVID-19 pandemic is still having an impact on some college football teams hoping to get through some semblance of a season this spring.

Cal Poly and Chattanooga didn’t make it through, announcing Monday that they won’t participate in the remainder of the 2020-21 spring season.

Cal Poly’s issues aren’t directly related to a COVID-19 outbreak. Rather, due to a variety of reasons, the team only had 49 of the 110 players on its roster available for an April 3 game at Northern Arizona.

"We made this decision because of the high number of serious, season-ending injuries to our players," Cal Poly director of athletics Don Oberhelman said in the athletic department’s press release. “In addition, there are many seniors who informed us of their decision to defer spring quarter enrollment to the fall so that they can play a full fall season.

"The health, safety and well-being of our football student-athletes is the only factor in our decision to end this season early — a decision reached after careful consideration with members of our coaching staff; President Armstrong and university senior leadership; and medical personnel. This will allow our young men to remain safe and prepare academically and athletically for the fall 2021 season."

The Mustangs made it halfway through their six-game spring schedule, going 0-3 with losses to Southern Utah, UC Davis and Eastern Washington. Right after practice started for the spring, COVID-19 protocols caused Cal Poly to shut down for 17 days in February.

"Despite the shutdown of all activities for that period and shorter preparation window, everyone in our program was committed to playing a Big Sky schedule this spring," Cal Poly head coach Beau Baldwin said. "Everyone in our program remains committed, but I support this decision in the interest of the health and wellness of our students."

It was a similar end in Chattanooga, which announced Monday that, “The decision was made with the health and safety of the entire program as the main focus and due to COVID-19 opt-outs that made it impossible to field the required number of student-athletes in key position groups to meet Southern Conference regulations.”

"I appreciate all of the hard work our guys put into this entire season," Chattanooga head coach Rusty Wright said. "I know the timing is unfortunate, but like all programs across the country, we have been dealing with various COVID related issues throughout this whole process. We are disappointed that we are not able to continue, but our student-athletes have done everything we have asked of them and I can't thank them enough for their efforts over the past year."

Chattanooga had played one game in the fall, a 13-10 loss at Western Kentucky on Oct. 24. The Mocs returned this spring, winning three games before a 35-28 home loss to Mercer on Saturday. They finished with a 3-2 record in a season that was supposed to conclude with games against Western Carolina, Samford and East Tennessee State.

Other teams are still canceling games, including COVID-19 protocols decreasing Wagner’s roster to the point that Friday’s game against Merrimack has been called off.

Related content: Illinois State Pulls Plus on Spring Football Season

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