DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Out of abundance of concern amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Carolina Central University Eagles have opted out of its upcoming football season.
“We are disappointed that we will not be able to compete this spring. Our priority is to always provide the best academic and athletic experience for each student-athlete, and delivering this news to members of our football program was difficult. However, after careful and deliberate discussions with our coaching staff and sports performance team members, the health, safety, and well-being of our football student-athletes prevailed as the number one factor in this decision. We have seen first-hand the impact of the pandemic. There are more challenges at this time and it is best for us not to move forward, but to allow our young men to remain safe and prepare for the fall 2021 season,” said NCCU Director of Athletics Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree.
Officials say the NCCU football coaches and support staff will move forward with a traditional spring practice campaign in order to prepare the student-athletes to compete in the fall.
“This was a very tough decision to make, and my staff and I gave this a lot of thought. We evaluated our student-athletes after completing their first week of workouts this semester and determined we would not be physically prepared by the start of the season. Football is a high-impact sport and a violent game. I know it is not in the best interest of our student-athletes to attempt to play and risk a catastrophic injury. We are very disappointed. As a competitor, you try to do all that you can to play, but I am not going to risk the well-being of my players,” said NCCU Head Football Coach Trei Oliver.
The Eagles were set to begin the season on Feb. 20 against South Carolina State.