Decision on fall sports from Southland Conference could come on Thursday

Decision on fall sports from Southland Conference could come on Thursday
Battle of the Pineywoods (Source: KTRE Sports)

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - No announcement will be coming from the Southland Conference on Wednesday night but one could be made on Thursday for the future of fall sports.

On Wednesday afternoon, presidents from the member schools met on a conference call for over two hours but no announcement was made. A source close to those meetings believes an announcement could be made Thursday morning at the earliest. Info coming out from media members around Texas point to a possible non-conference schedule in the fall for football with all conference contest in fall sports taking place in the spring. It is a move done by other F-C-S level conferences.

Last week the conference was confident that fall sports could go on but those thoughts have lessened it seems with the NCAA return to play protocols and several schools pausing fall camps. McNeese and Sam Houston delayed the start of camp. Lamar started but quickly paused fall camps after a significant amount of student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

As of last week, SFA had nine student-athletes on campus had tested positive for COVID-19. SFA is testing athletes weekly and doing surveillance testing when needed. Both are being done with the antigen test which can give results back quickly.

“The athletes have been back on campus for about nine weeks and we are Isolated in single dorms, surveillance testing and practicing all the social distancing,” SFA Head football coach Colby Carthel said. “We have created our own bubble. We have changed our practices, our masking, social distancing. I feel very confident with our players and we take it one day at a time.”

As of now SFA is set to open the season at SMU on September 12. There is a chance that the team could grab up another game on September 5 That was the original season opener at Alabama A&M but it went away when the SWAC announced they were moving to spring football.

“We don’t know who the first opponent will be but we have to be ready to answer the call when it is made,” Carthel said. “You want to train at a high level to be ready. You don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to the level you are training. We try to work hard and practice at a high level each and every day. "

If college football proceeds in the fall in the Southland, for SFA and Sam Houston the annual Battle of the Pineywoods will need to find a new home.

Lone Star Sports and Entertainment, which facilitates the event for NRG Stadium with the Houston Texans announced that the stadium would not host the 2020 event. The event had been held in Houston since 2010. SFA won that game but had not won since 2011.

Southland Conference leaders are set to meet Wednesday at 4 pm to discuss the future of football. The SFA administration has been vocal about moving forward with fall football.

“I am looking forward to playing in the fall and I hope Sam Houston is wanting to play in the fall but that is to be determined on their campus,” Carthel said. “If we are the Battle of the Pineywoods will proceed and we may have to pick a neutral site like Crockett High School some eveining in October but we will find a place to play.”

The game is set to take place on October 3.

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