To Our SUU Community,
You may have already heard the news, but I was hoping that you would hear it from me first. Late last night, the Big Sky Conference President’s Council voted to delay all fall sports to the spring of 2021. This was supportive of a recommendation from the Big Sky Athletic Directors. Although we have spent hours in meetings trying to find ways that would allow us to continue to play, the health risks to our student-athletes, coaches, and fans, have led to a decision to delay competition until the spring. Over the last two weeks, it seems that each day brought new information regarding the pandemic and just when we thought we had figured out testing, contact tracing, etc. to keep the student-athletes and coaches safe, new information from the medical providers would make us change our direction.
We all want to play and delivering this message to our student-athletes and coaches will be one of the most difficult tasks of my lengthy career. It is also difficult to share this news with you. Personally, my eyes have watered on several occasions when I imagine myself standing on the sidelines on September 5 as SUU aviation escorts our football team onto the field to meet our foe, Dixie State, in their first-ever Division I football game. I could feel the excitement of a standing-room-only crowd, with blue skies, and red rock formations in the background, and the look of determination on the faces of our football team. It hurts in the heart to know that this thrill has been delayed.
And that last part is the most important. It has been delayed. Not canceled. This moment that I so often imagine will happen. Our coaches and staff will continue to work to make this fall semester one of growth and improvement. We have been working on a significant life skills program to educate our student-athletes on financial planning, nutrition, wellness, mental health, etc. We will take advantage of the opportunity that we don’t have when they are practicing and traveling and preparing for competitions. Our goal is that at the end of the semester, the student-athletes feel as though this semester was a gift; a time for them to find self-improvement off the fields of play. And come spring, we will be ready for a season of competition with even more fire in our eyes and desire in our hearts. We hope that you will be with us as a fan, donor, alum and fellow T-Bird!
Southern Utah University