Alcorn State game in southern Alabama is in doubt without athletic coach
Posted On September 14, 2021
For Alcorn State’s football program, traditionally one of the best among historically black colleges and universities that play in the Southwest Athletic Conference, this weekend’s game in South Alabama is a big financial deal.
As one of the less affluent programs in the championship soccer division, with an athletics department budget in the order of $ 6 million, a paycheck of $ 360,000 to play a game represents a large portion of their income for the year.
But it is unclear whether the team will travel to southern Alabama as they were unable to train on Monday or Tuesday as they did not have a sports coach available to treat injured players, a Head coach Fred McNair said in a radio interview Monday. and four people with first-hand knowledge of the situation confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.
The question now is whether Alcorn State will play against an FBS team without a week or normal practice and with what kind of medical supervision.
Alcorn State athletic director Derek Horne did not return a message seeking comment.
The four spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.
One said the soccer team’s activities on Tuesday were limited to a visit where nurses employed by the university – not a certified sports coach – were allowed to hand out ice packs.
“It’s been an ongoing thing for us,” the person said. “The sad thing is that we won and you would think that would be a plus to help us move forward.”
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Alcorn State is 1-1 at the start of the season, including a 13-10 victory over Northwestern State on Saturday.
Frustration within the program also spills over publicly, McNair saying Monday night: “This is something that needs to be fixed. It’s an administrative problem. “
Although Alcorn State coaches still hoped to play the game, the situation echoes the 2013 boycott of Grambling State players over the conditions of their facilities and other issues with administration funding for the program, which caused the school to forgo a game against Jackson State. .
While most of the FCS played the 2020 football season in the spring of 2021, Alcorn State has pulled out entirely. At the time, this was a decision attributed to concerns about COVID-19.
But people familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports that the team’s upper class students chose not to play because the school had not hired a strength trainer or athletic trainer to. full time during the pandemic and therefore did not feel ready to compete.
“It’s not that we didn’t want to play,” said one person. “We just didn’t have the things we needed.”
A full-time sports coach, Fred Worthy, was hired in early January but quit his job in July to return to a private sector job in the healthcare sector. The sports department did not immediately hire someone to replace him and instead gave the part-time job to two coaches who were not vaccinated against COVID-19, one person said.
“Our team is 90%, 95% vaccinated and all of our staff are vaccinated,” the person said.
The two part-time athletic coaches tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the team’s game last weekend against Northwestern State, and Worthy was brought back temporarily to complete the game. But after the players came on Sunday and received treatment, the person said Worthy informed staff he could not return on Monday.
Coaching staff were told they would have to organize modified training accordingly, but the issue has now spread over several days and there was no typical preparation for Saturday’s game. Players and parents are increasingly agitated by the school’s response, the four told USA TODAY Sports
According to Alcorn’s contract, he owes South Alabama $ 360,000 in damages if the game is not played.
“We’re not going to put them on the ground if we think they’re not safe,” one person said. “We as staff are not going to do this.”