Of the current schools participating in spring football over the next few months, arguably no program has been impacted more than Alabama A&M.
The Bulldogs’ scheduled season opener versus Alcorn State was abruptly canceled after the Braves indicated — just two weeks before the start of the regular season — they were opting out because of COVID-19 concerns.
Alabama A&M then had what would have been its regular-season debut against Mississippi Valley State postponed when a coronavirus positive test and subsequent contact tracing within the Delta Devils program prompted the football team to pause all activities.
Alabama A&M — having not competed in more than 400 days — was nearly faced with the prospect of no games for the first three weeks of the 2021 campaign until it agreed last week to play at South Carolina State after pandemic-related travel restrictions meant SCSU couldn’t face MEAC rival Howard.
“It was like a shot in the arm for my guys,” Alabama A&M head coach Connell Maynor said about his group finally getting back on the field. “They were so down about the first two (games) and then they found out they were going to South Carolina State. It was a big shot in the arm that we needed.”
While Bulldogs are pleased that they were able to get a game in during this rather unique season, Maynor admitted that he anticipates the schedule for his team, and possibly others, to be in flux because of the unpredictable nature of when and where COVID-19 will strike.
“With this COVID thing, you can do everything right — you can test (and) you can keep six feet apart and you can some kind of way come up with the virus,” he said. “You just never know.
“… But any given day somebody can get it and you could have one of those situations (where) it could be us. It could be whomever. But, I do anticipate probably somebody else having to postpone a game or even cancel a game before the end of this season. We just have to keep our fingers crossed, and hopefully, nobody will have to cancel again.”