“We’re not going to put them on the field if we don’t think they’re safe,” an anonymous source within the program said. “We, as a staff, aren’t going to do that.”
Alcorn State Nearly Canceled Game Due to Lack of ATC
Leading up to the game, Alcorn State was unable to practice all week without an athletic trainer on staff to look after any player injuries. At the end of January 2021, the school hired Fred Worthy as a full-time ATC, but who left to return to a private-sector health care job, according to a report from FoxNews.com.The Alcorn State athletic department did not immediately hire someone to replace him, and instead outsourced the job on a part-time basis to two trainers. According to the FoxNews.com report, both part-time trainers tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the team’s game against Northwestern State in the previous week. The program brought back Worthy just to get the team through that game before Worthy informed the team he wouldn’t be able to do another week.
Alcorn State lost the game 28-21 to South Alabama and is 1-2 on the year. Head coach Fred McNair shared his frustration with the issue publicly.
“This is something that needs to be fixed. This is an administration issue,” McNair said.
Below is an excerpt from the FoxNews.com report.
What this story boils down to is a lack of spending from Alcorn State, though nobody will likely go on the record to express that opinion.
The entire situation feels eerily similar to Grambling State’s 2013 program boycott over the administration’s funding of their program. Rumors around the Alcorn State campus suggest that the team’s 2020 season cancellation, officially attributed to COVID-19, was actually a result of understaffing. Apparently, neither a full-time strength coach nor an athletic trainer were available last season for Alcorn State.
Now headed into the marquee FBS game of the year, a game in which Alcorn is slated to make a much-needed $360,000 for participating, the team is staring down a forfeit (and breach of contract) because they can’t guarantee the safety of their players.