Division III Grinnell College’s football team has been ravaged by injuries thus far this season. In fact, the small-school program has lost 11 of its 38 players during the first three games of the campaign.
It now appears enough is enough. Grinnell has cancelled the remainder of the season, forfeiting its final seven games in the process.
According to this report from Jacob Bogage of the Washington Post, players voted to cancel the remainder of the season as a protest targeting the school’s administration.
“It was not the administration that forfeited the season,” senior linebacker Rick Johnson said in a phone interview. “It was not their doing, it was the players’ doing, and it was for our safety and to protest the administration in hopes to get institutional support.”
Talk about taking player safety to an entirely new level. The report notes that Grinnell lists eight football coaches. The team that beat them last week, Macalester College, has 15 coaches on staff.
A private liberal arts school, Grinnell is not known for its athletics. School administrators noted that their admissions process is highly selective — leading to many recruits deciding to look in another direction.
Despite this, Johnson continued to push back against school officials.
“It’s a lack of institutional support,” he said. “We’re not at all investing in the football team. We understand that football is not a priority at this school and that is okay. It doesn’t have to be a priority and it doesn’t have to be a football school. But they’re not doing enough to let us be competitive among other teams.”
This really is an interesting story to follow. It’s the first of its kind at either a small-school program or at the broader national level.