Tribune-Star file/Joseph C. Garza Too fast to grasp: Indiana State running back Titus McCoy escapes the grasp of two Western Illinois defenders for a gain in yards during the Sycamores' 20-10 win over the Leathernecks on Oct. 12, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

There will be no football season for Indiana State during the 2020-21 school year.

The university announced that ISU will opt out of the spring football season planned by the Missouri Valley Football Conference after the cancellation of the fall 2020 season.

Indiana State Director of Athletics Sherard Clinkscales and football coach Curt Mallory made a joint announcement on Monday evening.

The decision was made following consultation with doctors and health officials, in addition to training and strength and conditioning personnel. 

The Sycamores had the full backing of Indiana State to play, but with both a spring and fall championship season, the Sycamores would play a minimum of 19 games in just under nine months, bypassing the necessary time for development and recovery.

“This is a challenging environment to navigate. I support Curt and his vision for the Sycamore football program, especially when it comes to the health, safety and development of our student-athletes,” Clinkscales said in the statement.

“The University has provided us with all the resources needed for a spring season and we were certainly looking forward to games, but the health and safety of our student-athletes is a priority. We look forward to normal spring practices in the coming months as we continue to work toward a full fall season in 2021.”

When talked to in-person at Hulman Center prior to ISU's men's basketball game with Loyola on Monday, Clinkscales had no further comment, other than to say the decision was not financially motivated. 

Mallory did not respond to calls on Monday for further comment.

“We will always make the health and safety of student-athletes our first priority. I’m grateful to coach Mallory for his leadership and judgement about what’s best for his players. We look forward to a successful season of football in the fall,” ISU President Deborah Curtis said in an ISU press release. 

Mallory said he feels badly for players and coaches because they wanted to play and are mentally ready to play football.

“The difficult situation we find ourselves in is that we may not be physically ready to play with such a short turnaround, not only leading up to a spring season but going into a full fall schedule. The well-being of our players over multiple seasons is my top priority and is what led to this difficult decision,” Mallory said in a university statement.

“The thing that I am looking forward to now is getting into our winter workouts for the next twelve weeks, get ready for spring practice and to really develop this football team for next fall. We have a really good team coming back along with some new players coming in and I am ready to actually be around them and get some consistency as we continue building this program moving forward,” Mallory continued.

Indiana State will use its spring to prepare for its return to action this fall, with the first game scheduled for early September.

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Todd Aaron Golden has been Sports Editor and Indiana State beat writer since September 2004. Born in Milwaukee but an Indiana resident most of his adult life, he previously worked in Jeffersonville, Columbus and Eau Claire, Wis.

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