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Penguins cancel fall football season

YOUNGSTOWN — There will not be any fall football games for Youngstown State University.

The YSU Athletic Department announced on Monday that the football team will not participate in non-conference competition this fall.

In a statement, athletic director Ron Strollo said the department believes postponing fall competition was the best decision in regards to the health of the student-athletes.

“After much consideration, we have decided that it’s in the best interest of our football student-athletes and staff to not have competitions this fall,” Strollo said. “At this point in time, planning for a spring season is the right decision. We will work with our coaches and student-athletes to do our best to make that happen.”

While disappointed, this could be helpful for first-year head coach Doug Phillips.

The Penguins had only a couple weeks of spring practice before the pandemic and quarantine went into effect, leaving him with very little time to implement new schemes and get to know the players. Even though YSU will take “a break” from practicing for the time being, according to Phillips, they’ll still have some time to further their knowledge of the systems and build team camaraderie.

Strollo and Phillips both said they’re awaiting direction from the NCAA as to the guidelines and parameters for spring football preparation.

“We preach every day to thrive in all situations, so we will use our time this fall to work together to become a better football program,” Phillips said. “We will continue to support our student-athletes in everything, and our expectations for them to represent YSU in a positive manner on and off the field will not change.”

Youngstown State, and all Missouri Valley Football Conference schools, were given the option to play non-conference contests when the MVFC announced it was moving league games to the spring on Aug. 7. The Penguins were scheduled to play at Akron, and host Duquesne and Eastern Kentucky in September. The Akron contest was canceled on Aug. 8.

More information will be made available in the future for Penguins football season-ticket holders regarding options for the games moved to the spring.

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