Update 5/14/2020: Samford University has decided to suspend all fall sports, including out of conference competitions. This will leave Florida State searching for a new opponent for their second game of the season. It’s likely that Florida State would not have to pay Samford for the contracted game, as Samford is now choosing to back out of the game. We will update this story if we learn more about how the two universities wish to proceed. Read the entire statement below:
Samford University director of athletics Martin Newton announced on Friday, Aug. 14 that the sports of football, men’s and women’s cross country, soccer, and volleyball, as well as all non-championship segment sports will not participate in nonconference competition this fall.
”Today’s decision to cancel our fall nonconference schedules came after thorough conversations with our coaches and student-athletes,” Newton said. “Our student-athletes made it clear that they want to compete, but voiced their questions and concerns about the unknowns related to the virus. We based our decision primarily on their feedback.”
Samford’s decision comes on the heels of Thursday’s Southern Conference announcement that all fall league competition has been postponed to the spring of 2021 due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council of Presidents left open the possibility that SoCon schools could still play a nonconference schedule, if they so desired.
”Our student-athletes, coaches and staff have shown tremendous perseverance during the pandemic,” Newton added. “No one wants to see their opportunity to compete taken away, but the health and safety of the Bulldogs remains our top priority. I am still hopeful that we will see the Bulldogs back in action in the near future.”
After rescheduling the Samford Bulldogs as its sole non-conference opponent in 2020, Florida State Seminoles football had a moment where they might have gone back to the drawing board.
The Southern Conference, with Samford plays in, will be cancelling its fall sports season, though its leaving the door open on potentially still playing football.
The Southern Conference Council of Presidents announced Thursday that the league will not have fall conference competition due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for nonconference contests if desired. It is the intention to move the fall sports’ regular-season competition and championships to the spring.
The move left open the possibility remains that Samford could still be play in Tallahassee —however, the decision is still up in the air:
Here's the direct quote from the press release. pic.twitter.com/RvOZUIMRmM— Patrick Brickman (@PatrickBrickman) August 13, 2020
Samford AD Martin Newton adds “our phone has been ringing” regarding potential scheduling of non-conference games with state’s Group of 5 schools. Didn’t rule it out.— Creg Stephenson (@CregStephenson) August 13, 2020
While the SEC has opted to hold a conference-only season, the Big 12 is allowing teams to schedule non-conference opponents:
Non-conference football opponents must also adhere to COVID-19 testing protocols that conform to Big 12 standards during the week leading up to competition.
All non-conference games must be completed before September 26 and the match-ups will be announced by each individual conference member. Stadium capacities will be determined by each member institution in accordance with local and/or state health ordinances, and working with government officials.
“It’s going to be very hard to tell what’s going to happen if some of the schools in some of these conferences that decided not to play wish to continue to play,” Florida State athletic director David Coburn said Tuesday. “Obviously, I don’t know what their conference bylaws are like, but certainly some of the coaches and athletic directors are indicating that some of them may be looking for games. So it could get very interesting.”