BILLINGS -- The 2020 fall sports season is still on target for Rocky Mountain College's football program but under some interesting adjustments.
Rocky and the other four Montana teams in the Frontier Conference are planning to play a fall football season. However, College of Idaho, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon have decided not to play their football seasons until spring of 2021, an option set forth by the NAIA.
It shows how determined teams are to work together for any sort of solution to compete.
"I think it’s great," Bears head coach Chris Stutzriem told MTN Sports on Tuesday. "I think it gives the opportunity to guys that, the schools choosing to play in the spring, it doesn’t make the kids think they don’t have a chance."
Stutzriem was referring not only to the option of allowing teams to choose a fall or spring season but also to the NAIA's idea of conducting playoffs next spring, which should make for an interesting dynamic. The fact that three Frontier schools chose to sit out this fall caught some of the league's coaches, including Stutzriem, off guard.
"I was surprised by their move, just because the conference hadn’t decided anything and the NAIA hadn’t decided anything," he said. "But again, they’re in a different part of the United States, different state, different rules, from Governor down. So that’s what they did and that’s what their best answer was."
Sutzriem said league presidents and athletic directors are set to vote this week on schedules.
While football squads don't officially report to camp until mid-August, players said Rocky's recent turnout for voluntary workouts has exceeded expectations.
"I think it’s just excitement," said Nate Dick, who is competing for the starting quarterback role. "Coach Stutz said, I think, there’s only three returning kids on the roster that aren’t here right now. I think everyone’s just ready to be back and hungry and get to work again."
"I think we just have to adapt and overcome," Dick continued. "We are in unprecedented times right now, so we’ve just got to do what the people higher up are telling us to do. If that’s playing playoffs in the spring, playing it in January here, we just want to play football.”