CIAA Football: No equipment, no game
CHARLESTON, W.Va. ó No helmets. No pads. No game.
Two days before St. Paul’s College was supposed to open the 2009 football season, the Tigers canceled today’s contest with West Virginia Wesleyan. The reason, West Virginia Wesleyan athletic director Ken Tyler said Friday, was a lack of equipment.
In an instant, the thrill and anticipation of finally playing fell flat.
“I’m flabbergasted and disappointed for our players,” Tyler said. “They’ve been working really hard. They’ve been peaking and looking forward to kick off the season. It’s a real punch in the gut. Beyond that, I feel it was very unprofessional. We would never, ever even consider doing that.”
Tyler said St. Paul’s AD Leroy Bacote called him with the news Thursday, less than 24 hours before the Wesleyan team was scheduled to travel 341 miles to play the game in South Hill, Va.
Division II St. Paul’s had ordered helmets and pads ó but the shipment hadn’t arrived yet.
“He couldn’t guarantee that they would be there in time,” said Tyler, adding that the game would not be rescheduled.
Tyler said he asked Bacote how the team practiced without helmets and pads and was told the players did calisthenics in shorts and T-shirts.
West Virginia Wesleyan also will seek reimbursement of any expenses. Tyler said the team was being charged for 40 hotel rooms that had been previously booked.