ST. GEORGE, Utah, Aug. 12, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Dixie State Athletics has postponed its 2020 season, officials announced Wednesday.
“The Trailblazers will have to wait a little longer to make their NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision debut,” said a news release from the university, in St. George.
“Dixie State University Athletics announced on Wednesday that the 2020 football season will be postponed until the spring semester due to the continuing developments of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the intercollegiate athletics landscape and the nation as a whole.”
The Trailblazers were slated to begin the 2020 campaign at in-state rival Southern Utah in Cedar City on Saturday, Sept. 5, the news release said. However with other postponement announcements made by the Big Sky, Missouri Valley Football, Pioneer, GNAC and RMAC conferences, among others, DSU officials made the decision to delay the start of the football season to this upcoming spring.
“As difficult as a decision like this is, it is the right call,” said DSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jason Boothe. “There are so many factors involved, but our top priority that we cannot waiver on is the health and well-being of our student-athletes.
“As our schedule of games this fall evaporated the last couple weeks, we tried to get something together so our athletes could play, but as we went through each option, there were still too many unknowns and big questions. While we felt comfortable with playing in terms of the safety of our student-athletes, ultimately, the only thing to do was to postpone to the spring when hopefully we can enjoy a much safer environment.”
Dixie State officially became an independent NCAA Division I FCS member this past July 1, when the Trailblazer Athletic program joined the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), which does not sponsor football.
“First of all, I am very proud of our student-athletes and how they have responded to these uncertain circumstances,” Head Football Coach Paul Peterson said. “They bought in to the prospect of playing and stayed positive, worked tremendously hard and prepared for a season that we all wish we could play.
“As time has gone by, our options to play have dwindled, despite our university leaders best efforts otherwise. Our student-athlete’s physical and mental health are our top concerns at this time. We will use this semester to develop in the classroom and to continue to serve our community. I hope that the nation can heal, our government leaders can make good decisions and we can all get better as a result these trying times. Go Trailblazers.”
The Trailblazers were slated to play 11 games in their FCS debut season, four of which were on the road against Big Sky opponents, including SUU and fellow in-state school Weber State (10/11), and games at Montana State (9/19) and Sacramento State (10/3). DSU was also slated to play two road games against Missouri Valley Football programs (at South Dakota 10/17; at Illinois State 10/21), along with a road date at fellow FCS independent newcomer (and new WAC member) Tarleton State (11/28).
Dixie State also had home games scheduled against Division-II Western New Mexico (9/12) and Pioneer Football League member Drake (9/26), as well as home dates vs. former GNAC rival Azusa Pacific (10/24) and RMAC foe Western Colorado (11/7). Trailblazer season ticket holders will be contacted directly in the next few weeks in regards to those accounts.
The NCAA Board of Governors issued updated guidance on Aug. 5, including measures for each division to make its own decisions on championships, and criteria for at least 50 percent of eligible institutions to compete in order to sponsor a championship. As of Wednesday, less than 40 percent of FCS institutions remained willing to compete in the fall season, this according to HeroSports.com.