Indiana State University has announced it will opt out of the Missouri Valley Conference's football season — delayed until spring by the pandemic — after consulting with medical experts.
As reported by the Tribune-Star of Terra Haute, the Sycamores had the university's full backing to play, but a minimum of 19 games in just under nine months would require bypassing the necessary time for development and recovery. Instead, the team will focus solely on preparing for the fall 2021 season.
"This is a challenging environment to navigate. I support [coach] Curt [Mallory] and his vision for the Sycamore football program, especially when it comes to the health, safety and development of our student-athletes," Indiana State athletic director Sherard Clinkscales said. "The University has provided us with all the resources needed for a spring season and we were certainly looking forward to games, but the health and safety of our student-athletes is a priority. We look forward to normal spring practices in the coming months as we continue to work toward a full fall season in 2021."
The MVC announced last August that it would not compete in 2020, opting instead to play an eight-game conference schedule in the spring. The conference will allow its other 10 programs to find a replacement game for Indiana State
Mallory said he feels badly for players and coaches because they wanted to play and are mentally ready to play football.
“The difficult situation we find ourselves in is that we may not be physically ready to play with such a short turnaround, not only leading up to a spring season but going into a full fall schedule. The well-being of our players over multiple seasons is my top priority and is what led to this difficult decision,” Mallory said in a university statement.
“The thing that I am looking forward to now is getting into our winter workouts for the next twelve weeks, get ready for spring practice and to really develop this football team for next fall. We have a really good team coming back along with some new players coming in and I am ready to actually be around them and get some consistency as we continue building this program moving forward."
ISU president Deborah Curtis added, “We will always make the health and safety of student-athletes our first priority. I’m grateful to coach Mallory for his leadership and judgement about what’s best for his players. We look forward to a successful season of football in the fall.”