SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly announced today that they have elected to opt-out of the remainder of its 2020-21 spring football season, effective immediately.
“We made this decision because of the high number of serious, season-ending injuries to our players,” said Cal Poly Director of Athletics Don Oberhelman. “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.”
Out of a roster of 110 student-athletes, Cal Poly would have only 49 to compete on Saturday, falling below Big Sky minimum requirements for competition.
Cal Poly’s 2020-21 spring season included the second half of Winter Quarter as well as the first three weeks of Spring Quarter, which begins Monday, Mar. 29.
“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,” Oberhelman said. “This will allow our young men to remain safe and prepare academically and athletically for the fall 2021 season.”
Coach Beau Baldwin‘s first football team at Cal Poly began preparations for its spring schedule Jan. 29, but a few days later, all team activities were shut down for 17 days due to COVID-19 protocols, necessitating a delay of its first two games against UC Davis and Weber State.
“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,” said Baldwin. “Everyone in our program remains committed, but I support this decision in the interest of the health and wellness of our students.”
The Mustangs will not play their remaining road game this weekend at Northern Arizona or their home contests against UC Davis on Apr. 10 and Weber State on Apr. 17.
“In the end, the health and safety of our student-athletes must always be our top priority,” Baldwin said. “We look forward to getting healthy in the coming months and are excited for what should be a memorable fall 2021 campaign.”
A total of 29 teams from the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, including five from the Big Sky — Montana, Montana State, Portland State, Northern Colorado, and Sacramento State — opted out of spring football prior to the start of play in mid-February. Several other teams across the country have halted their seasons after playing a few games.
Fans who purchased tickets for the Apr. 10 and/or 17 games will receive automatic refunds. For those with questions, contact the Mustang Ticket Office at (805)756-4849, email at email@example.com, or online at gopoly.com/sports/2020/6/4/tickets.aspx.
Cal Poly’s 2021 fall season begins Sept. 4 at the University of San Diego. The Mustangs’ home opener is set for Sept. 18 against South Dakota.