STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University has announced football this academic year will be delayed until the spring semester due to safety and scheduling concerns around the country.
"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.
"This is not an easy decision to make," he continued. "There are a lot of people who want to see Tarleton take the field at the NCAA Division I level – I am one of them – but we have to prioritize the safety of everyone on our campus above all else. We've worked hard to keep our student-athletes safe as they returned to campus. As difficult a decision as this is, we feel like we need to wait to participate until there is a safe return protocol at the end of this pandemic."
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 does not currently sponsor college football, leaving Tarleton as an independent.
On Wednesday, August 5, the NCAA Board of Governors issued a set of requirements for competing in the fall.
One of the requirements stated that 50-percent of playoff eligible teams must compete for there to be NCAA championships. As of 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, following the postponement of the Big Sky Conference and Pioneer Football League, only 39.5 percent of FCS schools remained willing to compete in the fall according to HeroSports.com.
The Texans were scheduled to play 11 games in their inaugural Division I season, including seven games against other FCS programs. Season ticket holders will be contacted directly in the coming weeks from members of the Tarleton Athletics staff with regards to the season ticket protection policy.
"I want to thank everyone who has shown support for our student-athletes, coaches and staff during these trying months without athletics," said Reisman. "I've waited 20 years for Tarleton to be Division I, now we'll just tack on a couple more months. It's been difficult, there's no doubt about that, but I'm confident that we will get through this and 2021 will be the best season in the history of Tarleton State University."