TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Indiana State opted out of the 2021 spring football season, the Missouri Valley Football Conference program announced Monday, Jan. 11.

North Dakota State, which played one game this past fall, was scheduled to play at Indiana State on March 6.

ISU athletic director Sherard Clinkscales and head coach Curt Mallory announced the decision via press release, stating: "The decision was made following consultation with doctors and health officials, in addition to training and strength and conditioning personnel."

Indiana State cited playing football in both the spring and the following fall as a reason for the decision. The prospect of playing a minimum of 19 games in less than nine months didn't allow necessary time for development and recovery. The release said the football team had the full backing of the university to play in both the spring and fall if the program had chosen to do so.

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"This is a challenging environment to navigate," Clinkscales said in the release. "I support Curt and his vision for the Sycamore football program, especially when it comes to the health, safety and development of our student-athletes. The University has provided us with all the resources needed for a spring season and we were certainly looking forward to games, but the health and safety of our student-athletes is a priority. We look forward to normal spring practices in the coming months as we continue to work toward a full fall season in 2021."

"The difficult situation we find ourselves in is that we may not be physically ready to play with such a short turnaround, not only leading up to a spring season but going into a full fall schedule," Mallory said in the release. "The wellbeing of our players over multiple seasons is my top priority and is what led to this difficult decision."

The Bison were scheduled to play eight MVFC games before Indiana State decided to opt out for the spring. The conference moved its games to the spring due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.