The Steve Addazio Era will have a 2020 start date after all.
The CSU Rams are playing football in the fall, the university announced late Thursday night.
The presidents of the Mountain West voted Thursday night to reverse their decision last month to push the football season out of autumn 2020. The Rams will play an eight-game slate, with Mountain West games scheduled to begin Oct. 24.
Despite the local interest, it appeared unlikely as of Thursday that the Rams’ in-state tussles with CU and UNC will return to the revised schedule.
CSU was supposed to open the season by hosting the Buffs for the first time at Canvas Stadium on Sept. 5, but the Rocky Mountain Showdown was canceled in early July when the Pac-12 demanded its teams play a 10-game, conference-only schedule.
The Rams were to host the Bears and new UNC coach Ed McCaffrey on Sept. 19, but that matchup is off the table after Big Sky commissioner Tom Wistrcill told the Missoulian last week that the FCS league remains firmly committed to playing out a spring slate.
The Mountain West joins the Pac-12 and Big Ten in doing a 180-degree turn on fall football, with each league having previously committed to postponing football because of concerns over COVID-19.
The Big Ten on Sept. 16 announced that it was commencing with an eight-game, league-only schedule.
The Pac-12’s presidents on Thursday voted unanimously to play a seven-game schedule starting the weekend of Nov. 6-7.
The Mountain West had announced plans Aug. 5 to attempt a 10-game slate, a card that would consist of eight league contests and two non-league matchups. Five days later, league presidents announced they were canceling that 10-game plan and postponing all fall sports until 2021.
While the direction of CSU’s football schedule is taking shape, the direction of the program as a whole remains under scrutiny.
The Rams are currently the subject of two investigations, one into accusations regarding alleged violations of coronavirus protocol and another into allegations of racism and verbal abuse by football coaches and adjacent staff.
CSU in August hired the services of the Husch Blackwell law firm to conduct the investigation, which is ongoing.
Husch Blackwell, which is based in Kansas City, had recently been hired by the University of Iowa to conduct an investigation into allegations of racist language and abuse within the Hawkeyes football program.
While the report found racial bias and bullying to be prevalent, Hawkeyes athletic director Gary Barta made only one significant staff change as a result, parting ways with longtime strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, who was given $1.1 million in severance.
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