The Colorado State football season took another unfortunate turn late Friday with the cancelation of the Rams’ final game against Utah State.
CSU (1-3) is expected to finish the year having played in only four of the eight games on its schedule. Coronavirus issues canceled matchups against New Mexico, UNLV and Air Force. However, more unusual circumstances led to Saturday’s home tilt against Utah State (1-5) to be called off.
In a players-only meeting Friday morning, USU players voted not to play at CSU to protest comments made this week by USU president Noelle Cockett, as first reported by Brett McMurphy of Stadium. Both schools later confirmed the game cancelation.
— Utah State University (@USUAggies) December 12, 2020
“Our student-athletes, coaches, and staff have done a tremendous job this season staying engaged and doing everything in their power to be able to compete,” CSU athletic director Joe Parker said in a news release. “They were energized and ready to play on Saturday night particularly for their senior teammates. In consultation with head coach Steve Addazio, we will make the most informed decision regarding potential future games. This has no doubt been a difficult and trying season, but I am thankful for our teams’ efforts and passion to compete and represent Colorado State University.”
The boycott stems from Cockett’s remarks about USU interim football coach Frank Maile during video call this week, in which Aggie players allege Cockett expressed religious bias against Maile (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) while addressing his candidacy for the head coaching vacancy. Utah State is expected to hire Arkansas State’s Blake Anderson to fill the position, per media reports.
USU football players, in a statement to watchstadium.com, said the team has “decided to opt out of our game against Colorado State due to ongoing inequality and prejudicial issues between the players, coaches, and the USU administration.” Players cited an additional unresolved incident involving the team’s head equipment manager and added their protest “has nothing to do with the hiring of Coach Blake Anderson.”
Addazio expressed frustration earlier in the week over the lack of schedule flexibility this season following game cancellations. On Wednesday, a team spokesman told The Denver Post that CSU is “open to any opportunities that give our team a chance to compete beyond this weekend.”
The Mountain West league office said the “official standing of the game will be determined at a later date,” according to a CSU news release.
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