Coronavirus: Regina Rams feeling the impact of cancelled season

Coronavirus: Regina Rams feeling the impact of cancelled season - image
Courtesy / University of Regina Rams

Regina Rams head coach Mark McConkey understands the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, but hearing the news that the 2020 Canada West football season is cancelled was still tough for him, his fellow Rams coaches and all of the players.

“I just felt terrible for them, especially our fifth-year guys,” McConkey said. “To have that taken away from you is pretty tough.”

Canada West has announced the cancelled season won’t eat up a year of eligibility, so players heading into the fifth and final year will be able to return next season. However, the conference hasn’t yet given clarity on the age cap of 24.

“That’s the most frustrating part right now is we’re not really getting answers,” McConkey said.

Story continues below advertisement

When those rulings get made, some players will have tough decisions to make. Most fifth years will be finished their degrees by the time the 2021 season rolls around, so do they stick around and play another year of university football, or move on?

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

“We’ve got about five guys who this effects with the age cap and I know one of them, he’s back for sure,” McConkey said. “He says ‘I don’t care how old I am, if they let me play, I’m coming back.’

“There’s a few other guys that are kind of close to getting their degrees and they might just be like ‘I got my degree, I’m ready to move on’ so it really depends on the player.”

Even though there won’t be a season, McConkey is still hopeful that the team can gather back on the field at some point this fall and hold regular practices in smaller groups.

“We won’t be doing a lot of systems and stuff like we would normally be doing during the season but just kind of give these guys something to keep them motivated and looking forward to the next year, which is a long ways away it seems like right now,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

There’s even talk about the Rams potentially playing exhibition games in the spring against teams the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. However, McConkey knows a lot has to happen before they are given the green light to do that.

“(Huskies head coach) Scott Flory and I have had lots of conversations about having combined winter practices and just competing, because there’s nothing else to do,” said McConkey. “We haven’t had a season so we can beat each other up in the winter a little bit.

“So that’s definitely an option moving forward, but obviously the health and safety comes first.”

Click to play video: 'Canada West cancels fall sports season due to COVID-19 pandemic'
Canada West cancels fall sports season due to COVID-19 pandemic

Sponsored content