Ever since Doc Gamble became interim head soccer coach last February, the University of Arkansas soccer team on the Pine Bluff soccer team has taken one hurdle after another to start a soccer game for the first time since November 2019.
But just as the Golden Lions hit the home stretch, another obstacle appeared.
Water pressure on campus is diminishing and leaks due to the February 14-17 blizzard prompted UAPB officials to oppose Saturday’s season opener at Simmons Bank Field against Texas Southern until April 24.
“From February until now we have learned to deal with disappointments,” said Gamble, who took the lead last April. “The kids say, ‘Okay, coach, let’s go. Now what?’ So we always know, like I told the guys, we have a great fan and you are always blown away. You can only control what you can control. If you can’t, let’s keep it moving. “
The water crisis that has affected most of the city has moved half of footballers and other residential students to hotels in Little Rock, interim Athletic Director Chris Robinson said Thursday.
“It wouldn’t be right to get them through that,” Robinson said. “A lot goes into a season opener when team members are 50 miles apart.”
The football game was one of three sporting events moved from UAPB this week.
Friday’s home football game against Texas Southern will be played at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Saturday’s two basketball games against Grambling State will be moved to Grambling, La., For the time being, with times to be announced, but Robinson is keeping the door open to potentially moving those games back to Pine Bluff, depending on whether the water pressure is stable enough to improve. sanitary facilities and heating.
“One of the most important things is setting priorities,” he said. “We love events that release people and give people a place to get away, but from the standpoint of where we are now, given how we have been affected by water pressure, it has brought a lot of things on campus to where our students are currently being expelled. A majority of our students are housed in Little Rock. That is our focus, to take care of them. “
However, as a precaution, fans are not allowed to attend sporting events at UAPB during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic since January.
Many of UAPB’s track and field teams travel to road races, but would be housed in Little Rock upon return to Arkansas if the campus water crisis isn’t resolved, Robinson said. The UAPB basketball teams were scheduled to play at Texas Southern in Houston on Thursday night.
The UAPB football players who are still on campus live in a residential complex near the football stadium that has not been affected. They have been transported to Little Rock by buses and passenger cars to practice with the rest of the Mills University Studies High School team. Wednesday was the first outdoor practice since the blizzard for the Lions, who held a walkthrough in the ROTC building at UAPB late last week.
“Coach Cortez Lee and their high school are more than accommodating to us and kind enough to let us come up and use the facility,” Gamble said. Lee is a former head coach at Altheimer and Dollarway high schools.
The next UAPB football game is on March 6 at 1:30 pm at Southern University in Baton Rouge. The Golden Lions will play at Grambling State on March 20 and play their first home game against Alabama State in Montgomery on March 27.
Last July’s Southwestern Athletic Conference moved the football season from the fall semester as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus pandemic, which will hit its first anniversary on March 11. Some teams from the football championship subdivision started their season last week.
UAPB is scheduled to play six SWAC games. The champions of the West and East division of the conference will play in the SWAC championship game in May at the venue of the team with the better record.
The Lions went 6-5 last year, their first winning record since winning the SWAC title in 2012 under Monte Coleman.
Gamble will stay with the players housed in Little Rock, allowing him and the players to see each other interacting outside of the football environment.
“We consider everything positive,” said Gamble. ‘Good can come from anything. It has been a great education for me [the idea that] some things are certain and change is one of them. ”
That’s not to say the preparation for a team coming to Pine Bluff hasn’t gone out the window.
“The biggest disruption was all the man hours I put into the coaches,” said Gamble. “The kids just said, ‘Hey, let’s just go and play.’ But the coaches have done a lot of work. I just have to move on to the next one. “
This story has been updated. The original version is below.
12:41 PM: The Golden Lions kick-off was postponed for another week
The wait for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to finally start a football season in the 2020-21 academic year has been extended by another week.
UAPB announced on Thursday that the home game against Texas Southern has been postponed from Saturday to April 24. The game is still being played at Simmons Bank Field, the former Golden Lion Stadium.
Last July’s Southwestern Athletic Conference moved the football season from the fall semester as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus pandemic, which will hit its first anniversary on March 11. Some teams from the football championship subdivision started their season last week, while the UAPB are scheduled for six games next Saturday.
But last week’s blizzard led to water pressure drops and leaks that had a major impact on the heating and plumbing systems of the UAPB campus. Residential students have moved to hotels in Little Rock and Pine Bluff.
UAPB also announced that Friday’s home football game against Texas Southern will be played at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock and will start at 6:30 PM. Saturday’s basketball games against Grambling State will now be contested in Grambling, La. announced.
The UAPB basketball teams were scheduled to play at Texas Southern in Houston on Thursday night.
The next UAPB football game is on March 6 at 1:30 pm at Southern University in Baton Rouge. The Golden Lions will play at Grambling State on March 20 and play their first home game against Alabama State on March 27.