/seasons/2017/contrib/20180424ubmlqk

Occidental football to play 2018 season

More news about: Occidental
Cameron Yowell
Cameron Yowell, freshman quarterback last season for Occidental, wore No. 18 for the Tigers in their shortened season.
Photo by Ronnie Glover, d3photography.com
 

Occidental College football will play its 2018 season, thanks to a remarkable recruiting effort led by first-year head coach Rob Cushman and a fundraising drive that raised more than $970,000 in gifts and pledges from football alumni in three months.

President Jonathan Veitch announced his decision at today's regularly scheduled meeting of the Occidental Board of Trustees, marking a hard-won comeback after the cancellation of six games of the 2017 schedule over safety concerns raised by an injury-diminished roster.

"This is a true team achievement that deserves to be celebrated, as well as a potential inflection point for football and Oxy athletics more broadly," Veitch said in a campus announcement following the board meeting. "It's my hope that we can take this model of alumni support and apply it to other Oxy sports. We need the help of all alumni to sustain the proud tradition of Oxy athletics."

Between returning players and first-year recruits, Cushman expects to have a roster of somewhere between 55 and 58 players. "Working under the most daunting of circumstances, Rob practiced what he preached — he never gave up," Veitch said. "Leadership is a key to success in any sport, and Rob has put on an impressive display of leadership this spring."

A volunteer team of football alumni led by Vance Mueller '86, who played five years of pro ball with the Los Angeles Raiders, worked closely with college fundraisers toward a four-year goal of $1.14 million to help support the program. As of Sunday, they had exceeded their first-year goal and raised 85 percent of the total. "Vance had great confidence that alumni would respond," Veitch said. "His faith and hard work have paid off."

The funds raised by football alumni include an additional 25 percent for the greatest needs of Oxy athletics, which will be devoted to women's athletics as part of a broader fundraising effort that will begin next fall.

While recruitment and fundraising results are justifiably cause for celebration, "At the same time, we can't lose sight of the significant challenges that still exist," Veitch cautioned. "The national conversation about the future of football shows no sign of abating."

The number of scholar-athletes who can meet Oxy's rigorous academic standards has always been limited, and the indications of decline in participation in youth programs suggest that pool could become even more limited over time, Veitch said. "I've made it clear that the college has not and will not sacrifice safety or academic or student conduct standards to field a sufficient roster size. For all of these reasons, we will continue to monitor and revisit the viability of the football program as circumstances require."

In January, an Athletics Task Force composed of faculty, students, alumni, staff, coaches and trustees recommended that Occidental redouble its efforts to field a safe and competitive football team. That recommendation was contingent on a recruiting effort that yielded a viable roster and a substantial increase in financial support for the program from alumni.

It was agreed that a progress report on recruiting and fundraising would be delivered by the president at the April 22 Board meeting.

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Martin Luther 21, at Northwestern (Minn.) 6
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Salve Regina 30, at Curry 21
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Cortland 56, at Hartwick 3
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Waynesburg 12, at St. Vincent 10
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Salisbury 33, at Southern Virginia 0
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Christopher Newport 39, at William Paterson 10
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Albion 49, at Adrian 42
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Thomas More 35, at St. Scholastica 0
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at John Carroll 27, Marietta 24
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at Tufts 28, Williams 21
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Ohio Northern 49, at Capital 46
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Baldwin Wallace 35, at Wilmington 33
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at Mount Union 54, Heidelberg 0
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at Lycoming 52, Alvernia 0
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at Rose-Hulman 44, Anderson 6
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at Franklin 64, Earlham 20
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Hanover 48, at Manchester 14
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Mount St. Joseph 20, at Defiance 0
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Maryville (Tenn.) 37, at LaGrange 17
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Framingham State 27, at Westfield State 2
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Morrisville State 35, at St. John Fisher 7
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at Muskingum 21, Otterbein 14
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Allegheny 54, at Kenyon 10
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Wheaton (Ill.) 20, at Augustana 3
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 49, at Belhaven 0
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at Hardin-Simmons 58, Texas Lutheran 14
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Chicago 63, at Beloit 0
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at Concordia (Wis.) 45, Concordia-Chicago 34
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Aurora 25, at Rockford 7
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at Bethel 41, Concordia-Moorhead 13
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Lakeland 38, at Wisconsin Lutheran 12
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at St. John's 57, St. Olaf 7
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at Gustavus Adolphus 42, Augsburg 0
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Dubuque 38, at Buena Vista 7
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North Central (Ill.) 26, at Carthage 14
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at Simpson 38, Loras 33
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UW-Stout 31, at UW-Stevens Point 27
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Millikin 14, at Elmhurst 13
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UW-Eau Claire 40, at UW-Platteville 16
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at Mass-Dartmouth 41, Worcester State 27
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at UW-Oshkosh 24, UW-La Crosse 13
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at Birmingham-Southern 47, Austin 35
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Centre 41, at Rhodes 14
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at Carroll 23, North Park 0
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at Pacific Lutheran 33, Willamette 20
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at Brockport 65, Buffalo State 7
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at Averett 45, Huntingdon 17
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Washington and Lee 38, at Ferrum 35
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at Pacific 54, Lewis and Clark 22
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Redlands 35, at La Verne 17
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Whitworth 47, at Puget Sound 13
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Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 27, at Occidental 7
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Linfield 14, at George Fox 0
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at Hope 35, Olivet 30
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at Western Connecticut 50, Bridgewater State 48
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Case Western Reserve 27, at Geneva 14
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at Sul Ross State 28, Howard Payne 27
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East Texas Baptist 48, at Louisiana College 27
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Illinois Wesleyan 27, at Washington U. 21
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St. Norbert 46, at Lawrence 0
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at Pomona-Pitzer 42, Whittier 17
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Chapman 33, at Cal Lutheran 29
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Frostburg State 24, at Montclair State 17
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at RPI 31, Hobart 24
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Trine 31, at Finlandia 0
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at Wittenberg 38, DePauw 23
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at Westminster (Pa.) 27, Washington and Jefferson 20
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Delaware Valley 52, at Lebanon Valley 7
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Johns Hopkins 51, at Gettysburg 14
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at Mount Union 54, Heidelberg 0
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at John Carroll 27, Marietta 24
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at Berry 28, Millsaps 21
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at Rowan 28, Wesley 27
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at Muhlenberg 42, McDaniel 18
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Wheaton (Ill.) 20, at Augustana 3
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 49, at Belhaven 0
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at St. John's 57, St. Olaf 7
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at Hardin-Simmons 58, Texas Lutheran 14
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North Central (Ill.) 26, at Carthage 14
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at St. Thomas 68, Carleton 0
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at UW-Oshkosh 24, UW-La Crosse 13
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at UW-Whitewater 44, UW-River Falls 7
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at Brockport 65, Buffalo State 7
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Whitworth 47, at Puget Sound 13
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Linfield 14, at George Fox 0
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Case Western Reserve 27, at Geneva 14
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Illinois Wesleyan 27, at Washington U. 21
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