Honaker Field will be nothing more than a void this fall.
Maryville College is canceling its upcoming football season because of the increasingly difficult logistics of participating triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, according to sources close to the team.
In a statement to The Daily Times, Maryville College President Bryan Coker said no such decision has been made and that the college expects to have information to share about plans for fall athletics Friday.
"We continue to be in discussions with conference officials about fall athletics, as we monitor the COVID-19 situation in our area and receive guidance from the Tennessee Department of Health, the NCAA and other relevant entities," Coker said in the statement. "Our goal is to offer our student-athletes safe, responsible and meaningful in-person experiences this upcoming year.
"As president, I have no greater concern than the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff, and safety will be the basis of any decisions made about fall athletics and other college programs and activities."
According to sources with knowledge of a meeting with athletic department personnel and Coker on Wednesday morning, the college does not plan to play football in the fall. The presidents of the schools comprising the USA South Athletic Conference are planning to meet and discuss moving the season to the spring before Maryville's announcement Friday.
The news comes eight days after the USA South announced its plan for fall sports, which included the eight-team football conference being split into two divisions. Each team was to play its three other divisional teams in a home-and-home format that would culminate in the two division winners playing for the conference championship.
The Scots were placed into a division with defending champion Huntingdon, along with Brevard and LaGrange.
"These implementations are rooted in assuring the health and safety of its student-athletes while still supplying as many opportunities as possible to participate in a positive collegiate athletic experience," read a conference press release about the decision to move forward with fall sports. "The conference will continue to discuss pathways to safely return to play, which include guidelines for resocialization, screening/testing, visiting teams, spectators and more."
Some within Maryville's program, however, believed those discussions should have been finalized before a decision to play was made.
"This is a premature decision at best and irresponsible at worst," Maryville College special teams coordinator Jason Emert tweeted July 14 after the USA South's announcement. "I‘d like to know how this decision was made and the data to safely have competition.
"... I have received multiple texts, calls and messages from coaches and student-athletes who do not believe enough is being done to safely have fall sports. No one feels their voice is being heard. (The) USA South is failing those whose safety they are supposed to ensure."
Those concerns proved true as the Scots find themselves on the brink of a fall without football.