Though three more Big Sky Conference schools have opted out of the spring 2021 football season, Weber State says it’s moving forward with the abbreviated campaign.
Montana, Montana State and Portland State announced Friday that they will not participate in the six-game Big Sky schedule, scheduled to run Feb. 27 through April 10, and will instead pursuing limited nonconference opportunities. Sacramento State decided three months ago to forgo the season altogether.
Athletic director Tim Crompton reaffirmed Weber State’s commitment to play spring football.
“A lot of time and thought has been put into this spring’s football season, as well as all the other sports,” Crompton said. “We realize all of our sports competing at once will be challenging given the current circumstance. That being said, we are fortunate to have great support from our administration as well as outstanding team physicians, athletic trainers and coaches.”
As a result of Friday’s news, the previously announced six-game schedules for what are now nine participating Big Sky schools will need to be redone. Weber State was scheduled to play just one of the teams bowing out. Montana State was originally slated as WSU’s home opener on March 6.
Crompton said the remaining nine teams are all committed to playing this spring.
The Wildcats are scheduled to open camp Jan. 29, and pre-camp lifting and conditioning are already underway. WSU was scheduled to open the season Feb. 27 at Idaho State, followed by games against Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, Northern Colorado and UC Davis.
Game dates are unlikely to change but matchups might. Crompton said a revised schedule has been drafted and should be finalized soon.
While the three new opt-outs joined Sacramento State in citing issues of player health and safety in a packed 2021 calendar, Montana coach Bobby Hauck and Montana State coach Jeff Choate both discussed “deep winter conditions” and a lack of indoor practice facilities as major factors in opting out.
“We want to compete this spring but we don’t believe playing a complete conference schedule is in the best interests of our program,” Hauck said in a statement. “We feel like we have a championship-caliber team, and preparing to win a championship in Montana in February with no indoor facility would be difficult at best. I think this modified schedule allows our players to compete while keeping the focus on the fall of 2021.”
Per reporting from Sam Herder of Hero Sports, 100 FCS teams are set to play a spring schedule with 27 opted out.