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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Wofford Football Shuts Down Spring Season Prematurely

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Wofford running back Nathan Walker (21) scores a second half touchdown vs. the Citadel. Walker’s touchdown would be Wofford’s last of the season. Photo courtesy of Mark Olencki.

Injuries and COVID-19 opt-outs reason for shutdown

On April 5, Wofford’s football program announced that it would opt out of the remainder of the Spring football season. COVID-19 and injuries left the Terriers unable to meet the Southern Conference standards for position groups, which was the main reason for the cancellation according to the Wofford athletics website. 

The move came after the latest blow, a 28-24 loss to the Citadel that saw the Terriers blow a 24-7 third quarter lead. The Terriers finished with a 1-4 record on the season, while the Bulldogs, winless before visiting Spartanburg, finished 1-9 between the fall and spring seasons. 

The Terriers’ lone win came against Mercer before losing to Samford, VMI and Chattanooga in addition to the Citadel. Matchups against Western Carolina, Furman, and ETSU were cancelled. 

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“Obviously, when we started this deal in the spring, it was really important for us to go out and compete for a championship,” said Head Coach Josh Conklin said in a virtual press conference following the decision to nix the rest of the spring campaign. He emphasized the spirit of the players during this challenge-filled season. 

“We’ve got a room full of guys right now in the locker room who’d go out and play tomorrow, if they could,” he said. “They don’t like where we’re at in the spring season right now, and there’s a lot of reasons for that, some that are in our control and some that aren’t, to be completely honest with you.” 

Additionally, Conklin acknowledged that the question of how this year differs from a typical one has been posed to him before. At the press conference, Conklin reminded the media that the Terriers had already been forced to deal with roster turnover via opt-outs and transfers to Power-5 FBS programs dating back to the spring of 2020.

Most notable of the transfers were offensive linemen Josh Burger to Texas Tech and Blake Jeresaty to Illinois. While Jeresaty missed the most recent fall season due to injury, Burger started all ten games for the Red Raiders as part of an O-Line that ranked 30th nationally for fewest sacks allowed. 

Losses on the defensive line and opt-outs due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to the decision to cancel the season. A lack of available freshmen, usually on campus for the fall, hurt the Terriers during the unorthodox spring session. 

“We never had an opportunity to go out and recruit those guys or get those numbers back,” Conklin said.

The Terriers played most of the season with only three defensive linemen on scholarship. Entering the showdown with the Citadel, the team had only seven offensive linemen at their disposal before a fractured leg injury to center Al Hogan all but killed the opportunity to continue the season.

“As you’re managing your way through this whole process, in the fall and the spring, sometimes you don’t have the answer,” Conklin said. “We have never done (a spring season) and you look back and maybe you’d do some things differently, but some years you just have these injuries that occur. They occur, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” 

Conklin ended by adding that he is “really appreciative of not only Wofford College, but the Southern Conference for trying to get our guys to play.”

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