Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Rapid City and the surrounding community, South Dakota School of Mines and Black Hills State University have decided to cancel the remainder of the 2020 football season.
The Hardrockers were slated to host the University of Nebraska-Kearney Saturday at O'Harra Stadium and then close out the season in Spearfish against BHSU on Nov. 21. Those games are now canceled.
"Hardrocker athletics felt this was the best course of action to take after the advisement from Monument Health, in following guidelines from the NCAA, CDC and State Department of Health, to suspend activities in the football program," said South Dakota Mines Athletics Director Joel Lueken. "I reached out to Black Hills and we are in agreement to bring the season to a close."
The 2020 football season was abbreviated with six games on the schedule. The Hardrockers (2-2) played four games, including two games against Chadron State, and one matchup against the Yellow Jackets and Colorado Mesa University.
Mines opened the season Oct. 10 with a 34-17 win over Black Hills State and defeated Colorado Mesa 24-9 Oct. 24 for its first win in school history against Mesa. The Hardrockers fell twice this season to Chadron State College, 41-25 in Chadron, Neb., and 37-22 in Rapid City.
"It was truly a blessing to have this opportunity to compete during these trying times but the safety of our student-athletes is and has always been the priority," said Hardrocker head coach Charlie Flohr.
Black Hills State was 0-2 with losses to Mines and Colorado Mesa (56-7) The Yellow Jackets hadn't played since the Oct. 17 game against Mesa. BHSU was scheduled to host Chadron State again Saturday after having the first game with the Eagles canceled on Oct. 24.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to play football this fall and disappointed that the last few weeks have kept us from being able to compete through the remainder of the fall season," said BHSU Athletics Director Jhett Albers. "We are supportive of the decision and agree that it is in the best interest of the three institutions at this time as it relates to the health and wellness of our student-athletes."
On Twiiter, BHSU head coach Josh Breske said the decision to cancel the season was tough, but fair.
"We collectively decided to cancel the remainder of our abbreviated season. We’re SO fortunate to have played two games this year. That’s more than most. There’s no magic pill or quick fix for changing a culture. We must compete, learn to fight, and perfect our process. #WEoverME."
The cancellation of the BHSU-Chadron State game essentially ended the season for the Eagles as well, as it was the final game scheduled for this fall for CSC.
"We appreciate the concern Black Hills State has for the safety and well-being of their student-athletes, as well as ours, and we support their decision," CSC Athletics Director Joel Smith said. "We look forward to resuming a full football schedule next fall."
The Eagles will not play any more football games this fall, but may attempt to add a scrimmage between now and the end of the spring semester.
Refunds for tickets purchased online for the final two BHSU home games will be processed automatically. For any additional ticketing questions, contact Assistant Athletics Director Colleen Mischke at 642-6259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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