The Occidental College athletics department announced Tuesday it will cancel its final four football games of the 2017 season and focus on the 2018 campaign due to a shortage of players.
Chip Patterson of CBS Sports provided details Wednesday, noting the Division III school in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference lost its first three games of the season and then forfeited the next two because of the shortage.
The school's full announcement noted the coaches, trainers and "senior leadership" for the team had "daily consultations" and realized the roster wasn't healthy enough to "safely field a team" moving forward.
Despite the decision, the football team's Twitter page shared an optimistic message in the aftermath:
"A decision of this magnitude was not made lightly," President Jonathan Veitch said in the announcement. "No one wanted or expected the season to end this way. Making this decision now provides needed clarity to players, their parents, coaches, and other SCIAC members. After cancelling two of our first five games because of a depleted roster, including last weekend's Homecoming game, the need to address the viability of the season became unavoidable."
Gabriel Dunatov of the Occidental Weekly reported an anonymous source filed a Title IX complaint against the school on Oct. 4 "alleging that Director of Athletics Jaime Hoffman and the department of athletics hold an anti-male bias that has compromised the football team and its players' reputation."
A report from D3Football.com noted Occidental only had one healthy defensive lineman and a roster "in the low-to-mid 30s" of healthy players in total. The report indicated it is unclear whether players will have the chance to reclaim this year of eligibility.
According to Zach Barnett of FootballScoop.com, this is the first season at Occidental for head coach Rob Cushman. He previously coached at Minnesota-Morris.
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