JSU to play four non-conference games after OVC postpones fall sports

The Gamecocks faced off against Murray State on Oct. 26, 2019, defeating them 14-12. (Matt Reynolds, JSU)The Gamecocks faced off against Murray State on Oct. 26, 2019, defeating them 14-12. (Matt Reynolds, JSU)

Thomas Ashworth, Correspondent

The Ohio Valley Conference announced on Friday that they are planning to postpone their season until spring due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After careful deliberation, weighing all the factors as presented, and given the current uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the OVC Board of Presidents voted to postpone the Conference’s fall sports to the spring,” said Beth DeVache, the Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner in a press release.

Greg Seitz, JSU’s athletic director, shared that while he was disappointed to hear the news, he was optimistic about spring athletics and how hard student athletes were preparing.

“Obviously we are disappointed that our student athletes won’t have the opportunity to compete for OVC championships this fall, but we are excited they will have the opportunity in the spring,” said Seitz. “Our student athletes have been working hard in the offseason preparing. We just want to make sure competition does occur as safely as possible under the circumstances.”

Notable FCS conferences who have also postponed their season include the Big South Conference, which includes border rival Kennesaw State, and the Southern Conference, conference of recent opponent Chattanooga.

The decision from the Ohio Valley Conference prompted the postponement of the Gamecocks’ football games against Florida International and Southeastern Louisiana. In a Twitter post by the FIU Panthers staff, the team announced, “FIU will postpone all intercollegiate competitions through September 16th.”

The Ohio Valley Conference is allowing football teams to play up to four non-conference games at their own discretion. Seitz shared that the university is in the process of planning these four games.

“Both FCS and FBS opponents are wanting us to play, so we are trying to look and see how we can get those four games,” said Seitz. “We are currently already under contract with Florida International and North Alabama, so those games are already contracted. We should be playing both of those opponents, so we’re just trying to fill those other two dates.”

Four days prior to the Ohio Valley Conference announcement, JSU football practice was suspended until Monday due to uncertainty in the upcoming football schedule. 

Even with the uncertainty surrounding football this season, Seitz assured fans that their support does not go unnoticed and that JSU will bounce back from this. Seitz told JSU football fans that they are “the best fans in FCS football.” 

“We all want to have this pandemic behind us to where we can all be together for a normal season,” he said. “Hang in there with us as we get through this abnormal fall and spring. We appreciate everything our fans do for us.”

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