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Griz NationGrizzly Athletics shares how the pandemic impacted UM student athletes
Any other year, we would be celebrating Homecoming and all the exciting festivities surrounding that wonderful time at UM. However, COVID-19 handed us a different plan.
It is a strange new reality on campus with no fall sporting events, but we are optimistic about the spring and look forward to gathering together again, renewing old friendships and cheering on the Griz!
The summer months took us on an odd, uncharted and winding path that led to a cancellation of all fall sports. After making that decision, we quickly pivoted our focus to the winter sports of men’s and women’s basketball, along with indoor track and field. We are hopeful competition in basketball will begin in late-November and indoor track and field at the end of 2020. The complete schedule, facility access and crowd sizes are still to be determined.
We are now planning for a “fall in the spring” when it comes to competition. The NCAA approved moving fall national championships to the spring, which allows the Big Sky Conference to develop a competition schedule for the traditional fall sports of football, soccer, volleyball and cross-country.
Working through the many details is still to come, but the framework is taking shape. Home football games are certainly a primary revenue source for the entire athletic department and bring millions of dollars to the Missoula economy. We feel the loss of these events. The combined revenue generated from football supports all student-athletes, especially the funding of scholarships. Our primary goal is to keep our student-athletes on pace to graduate and succeed academically.
To this end, the athletic department recently launched the “Together Campaign,” asking all of Griz Nation to support our effort to bridge the gap without fall football revenue. We asked season ticket holders to contribute their ticket payments to this effort, and the response has been outstanding. I ask you to consider making a tax-deductible gift to this cause by visiting www.upwithmontana.com. Every donation helps preserve our academic success and competitive momentum.
In this issue, you hear from some of our Black student-athletes. I ask you listen to what they are saying. Our student-athletes are thoughtful, passionate leaders. I am proud to work with them and pledge my commitment to supporting equality, listening more and educating myself on the topics of social justice and racism.
Grizzlies are strong and we persevere. I know we will get through this and come out ready to work hard in pursuing our academic and athletic goals. I applaud our student-athletes, coaches and staff for their flexibility and resilience during this chaotic and unsettled time. I thank all of you for your unwavering support.
Kent Haslam, Director of Athletics