Click here for updates on the evolving COVID-19 situation at Rice
Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 — Houston, TX °

Start of football practices delayed

Photo courtesy of Naria Lysander

By Ben Baker-Katz     9/6/20 6:24pm

Rice football announced that they would delay the start of their preseason practices in a press release today, due to concerns regarding the infection rate of the coronavirus in Houston. 

“Our top priority is the safety of our community,” Athletic Director Joe Karlgaard said in a statement. “The very low rates of infection among our campus community are the result of a communal effort and one that requires continued vigilance and dedication. At the same time, we will continue to explore options to allow a football season to happen in 2020.”

School officials have said that more rapid and reliable testing may become available in the near future, and they will work the Conference USA on any necessary schedule adjustments.

“As much as our team wants to get on the field and start their season, we all understand the larger issues involved,” head coach Mike Bloomgren said.

Bloomgren and his players have all expressed that while they are thankful for the care with which Rice is treating the situation, they are also ready to get back on the field.

“I'm thankful to be a part of a university that prioritizes the health and well-being of the campus as well as its student-athletes, while still giving us the chance to move forward and play the game we love and to compete for a conference title," senior and team captain Austin Trammell said. 

The Owls were scheduled to start their season on Oct. 3 in West Virginia against Marshall University. Whether or not that happens, is now up to C-USA. According to Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations Chuck Pool, there is no definitive answer on when the season will start.

“Conference USA will take a look at the situation, and it will be up to them whether or not the impacted game(s) are rescheduled or canceled,” Pool said.

For now, the school is investigating new rapid testing capabilities, as well as other measures to curtail the spread of the pandemic in a competitive athletic setting. A final decision on the start of practice will be made later in September.

“Mitigating the virus on our campus has been and will remain priority one,” Bloomgren said. “But there is also a commitment to trying to create a consistent scenario for football to be played this fall.”

More from The Rice Thresher

SPORTS 9/15/20 9:23pm
Football freshmen adjust to student-athlete life

With numerous college football programs across the nation starting their season this past weekend, there has been an increased focus on freshmen football players who are transitioning to the rigor and toughness of college football while also trying to navigate through the precarious situation presented by the coronavirus pandemic.  

SPORTS 9/15/20 9:21pm
Why is football being played if other sports aren’t?

Over the past couple of months, talks about restarting athletic programs have centered on one thing: college football. Even though Rice announced earlier this week that the start of their season would be delayed until Oct. 24, other programs across the country started their seasons this past weekend.  

SPORTS 9/8/20 9:19pm
Rice Football stands up: Players lead march across campus

More than 100 players from the Rice football team marched silently from Rice Stadium to the Aacademic Quad to protest racial injustice on Friday afternoon. While roll was not taken, head coach Mike Bloomgren said he believes that every member of the team and the coaching staff was present. Players spoke in the quad about the importance of effecting positive change, before the march concluded with a moment of silence to honor those killed as a result of racial discrimination. 


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.