STEPHENVILLE – The message from Tarleton State University President Dr. James Hurley rings louder and truer than ever – “Spring football is better than no football at all.”
As Tarleton prepares for a fall without football, unfailing optimism fills Memorial Stadium in Stephenville.
“I will tell you, of all the possibilities floating around the country for how football was to be played this year, this is the one I am most excited about,” said Tarleton head coach Todd Whitten. “There were conversations about conference only or regionalized only games and playing them at 25 or 50-percent capacity in the stands. That’s not football – not in Texas and not at Tarleton State University.
“We have such a wonderful football atmosphere here at Tarleton,” continued Tarleton’s all-time winningest head coach. “That atmosphere is about so much more than just our football team. It extends to our amazing fans, the marching band, the cheerleaders, the dance team, our student organizations, our tailgate and so much more. I couldn’t imagine having a football season without all of those things in place, especially not our first Division I season.”
As concerns remain regarding the status of collegiate athletics amid the coronavirus pandemic, over 60 percent of playoff eligible FCS football teams from around the country have already decommitted from a fall slate and are now focused on competing in the spring. Tarleton is working diligently to compile a complete 10-11 game schedule with at least six home games, which would match the number vacated in the fall.
“Football is extremely important to me, this university and this community,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lonn Reisman. “It’s something we all look forward to every year and it’s unfortunate that it won’t be played in its traditional fall setting, but I expect Texan fans to be excited for the spring of 2021.
“We fully expect 2021 to be arguably the most exciting year in the history of our university,” he added. “And for those who love Texan football, you get two seasons in one year – double the tailgates, double the games and double the Tarleton game day experience.”
The excitement for a spring slate is resonating among the coaching staff, players and administration, as well as the Tarleton student body.
“Division I football is something our fans, coaches, and athletes have been looking forward to for a long time. It’s a vital component in a new era of Tarleton’s rich legacy,” said Tarleton Student Body President Cahlen Cheatham. “While our athletes have been hard at work practicing and training to be the best, our student section and supporters have been gearing up to pack the stands with Tarleton pride. Our first kick off in the Spring will undoubtedly make history. Division I better be ready for the Tarleton Texans.”
“Honestly, I was thrilled with the decision to play in the spring,” said senior long snapper and Tarleton Transition Mentor Stephen Reeves. “I hope the fans are as excited about this decision as we are because we really believe it’s the best one moving forward. We can get back to a full capacity stadium, tailgate and everything else that makes Tarleton Football so enjoyable.”