Penalty Flag: Virus stops Ram football
URI played well in compiling a 2-1 record this spring (Photo courtesy URI Athletics)
By KEVIN WEHNER
SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The sun has set on the spring football season at the University of Rhode Island.
After several positive COVID-19 tests within the program, the Rhody football program has entered a pause and effectively ended the remainder of the abbreviated spring season.
“The number of folks that came down with positives put us in a position where we wouldn’t be able to
compete safely,” URI Athletic Director Thorr Bjorn said.
The Rams had two games remaining on their schedule, at home against Maine this weekend and at Stony Brook. The 10-day pause after the flagged tests won’t leave enough time for an acclimation period to play any more games. URI head coach Jim Fleming informed the players Tuesday night of the school’s decision to end the season via Zoom.
“It’s hard to get a real sense of emotion when you’re not there looking at students face-to-face. I can only
imagine there’s disappointment because they’ve gotten so close,” Bjorn said in response to how the team
reacted to the news.
Despite only playing three games the URI football team had as many wins as it did in a full 2019 campaign. Rhody
posted a record of 2-1 and ranked No. 22 in this week’s Stats Perform FCS poll after an unexpected upset in a 40-37 overtime victory over then No. 6 Villanova and then a gritty road win at No. 18/19 Albany.
The only game held at Meade Stadium (after a 490-day break) ended in a 35-21 defeat at the hands of visiting
No. 9/11 Delaware. Then came the positive COVID-19 troubles within the New Hampshire program that canceled a game at UNH.
URI becomes the third CAA school to have their season ended early due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, joining New Hampshire and Albany.
While a small sample size, Rhody showed it can compete with some of the CAA’s best programs. A slew of talented transfers made sizable impacts and the team hopes to roll that momentum into the fall where a full-11 game slate awaits, as of now.
“Having a unique, far more intense spring practice will put us in a better position for a successful fall.
We’ve seen that they are talented enough to compete at a high level,” Bjorn said as the focus shifts now to
It will be less than five months from now when Rhody will be back at Meade Stadium to open the season
hosting Bryant on Sep. 4.