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Northwestern State University has decided to postpone all fall sports, including football, volleyball, soccer and cross country until the spring of 2021 due to the coronavirus.
“You look at the responsibility we have as an institution to the health and safety of these student athletes and these coaches and our staff, it just was something that we felt was a difficult decision that had to be made,” said Director of Athletics Greg Burke in a virtual press conference provided by Sports Information.
NSU was scheduled to open its 2020 football season with a September 3 home game versus opponent Incarnate Word while other fall sports also were to start in early September, according to an official press release.
Braid Laird, head coach of the football team spoke in the virtual press conference on memorable team meetings that were held virtually throughout the summer, and the first time the football team was together in person.
“July 6th was the first time the team was back together, and we went through the testing protocol for the whole team to be back together for the summer to prepare for the 2020 season,” Laird said.
Laird went on to mention the disappointment of the student athletes but commended their commitment to maintaining safety protocols while finishing school and training.
“We don’t need that to be on the backburner, what these young men had to go through to understand the importance of wearing a mask and washing your hands and not being able to be in the locker room together; all those new things that those guys day in and day out continued to get better at, that’s what makes a day like this so tough,” Laird said.
NSU has chosen not to participate in any fall athletic competitions.
“As sports events are paused, Northwestern will intensify its efforts to expand other relevant and meaningful programs and experiences that enhance and enrich the lives of our students and others who are touched by the university,” President Dr. Chris Maggio said in a university-wide email.
“Demon volleyball wishes everyone continued health and safety until this comes to an end. And when it does end, we cannot wait to see you in Prather Coliseum as we run out of purple smoke to take the floor as the Demons,” said Head Coach Sean Kiracofe in a public statement on social media.
“Meanwhile, the training and preparation of our student-athletes for future competition, their academic progress and the recruitment of still more talented young men and women to help assure the success of intercollegiate sports at the university will remain a vital priority,” Maggio said.