NORMAL — A happy Missouri State football coach soured the moods of those associated with the Illinois State football program on Friday.
Thank you “Bear Force” for coming to the rescue and moving snow on the pitch this afternoon/evening! @State of Missouri has the best grounds department – Thank you Ryan, Robert, Dustin and JJ from the @MSUBearsMSoccer family! We are so lucky to have you! #BearProud! pic.twitter.com/FefULjHY12
— Jon Leamy (@CoachJonLeamy) February 19, 2021
Missouri State men’s soccer coach Jon Leamy expressed his satisfaction that his team was able to practice on Friday, tweeting that “the boys/staff did a fantastic job clearing snow from the Betty soccer stadium & Bobby Allison – Great to see the boys able to train today!”
This came two days after the ISU football game scheduled for Missouri State on Saturday was postponed to April 17 by the Missouri Valley Football Conference “due to inclement weather, preparation of the playing field and to ensure a safe environment for student-athletes from both institutions”.
Leamy tweeted two photos showing the football field, which sits near the Missouri State Football Field, cleared of snow and its players practicing on the surface.
Missouri Valley Associate Commissioner Mike Kern said Friday the postponement would stand and the game remains scheduled for April 17.
On Friday, Missouri State Athletic Director Kyle Moats released the following statement, “After extensive consultation with university administration, field staff, our turf supplier and facility personnel, the decision was made to postpone Saturday’s football game against Illinois State.
“While some snow removal has been possible, ice removal is not possible without risking permanent damage to the turf, and it is still not ready for play. Likewise, the campus was closed all week until to today, with numerous pipe bursts, uncleared parking lots and a stadium simply unable to safely host a football game day at this time. There’s a lot more to these decisions than fending off the snow or looking at the forecast. Based on all of these factors and the safety of everyone involved, the call has gone out to reschedule, which is how we got to this point.
I went to the Missouri State football field after getting a few questions. Here’s what it looks like today. There are a few patches of ice standing everywhere. I can’t quite say how dangerous a playing surface is when I haven’t been able to get on the turf. pic.twitter.com/ph0c4e7tOv
— Wyatt Wheeler (@WyattWheeler_NL) February 19, 2021
ISU football coach Brock Spack expressed dismay at the situation.
” I can not believe it. I really don’t know what to believe right now,” Spack said. ” I do not understand. This soccer field suited me perfectly. I don’t buy it. There should have been a game this weekend. It’s about the integrity of football and the integrity of the Missouri Valley. It’s a really bad look.
Spack said the ISU stadium team has been clearing ice and snow from Hancock Stadium since January for Redbird practices.
“We also had ice on our pitch, and it was picked up very easily,” Spack said. “Our administration, grounds and maintenance staff have done a fantastic job here. We have something like this planned.
The ISU had offered Hancock Stadium as an alternative venue for the game and was turned down. Kern said on Wednesday that moving the game “would create an imbalance in the home/away sequence in an already unbalanced schedule”.
The Redbirds have not played a football game since Dec. 14, 2019. The ISU season opener is now scheduled for Feb. 27 against South Dakota at Hancock Stadium.
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