FARGO – The North Dakota State football program was the first in the Division I football championship for the past decade.
Now, the university is first in another area: personal protective equipment. Head coach Matt Entz told Dom Izzo on his Hot Mic radio show 970 WDAY-AM Thursday that the university had purchased cloth masks that attach to the helmet. This is to fight the COVID-19 pandemic which has already ended six of the 13 FCS conferences.
“We have made a few changes which we believe can help mitigate the spread of the virus when you play football,” Entz said. “We were one of the first universities in the country to purchase these face masks which can be attached to the helmet”,
Players were expected to wear the design on Thursday during the NDSU step-by-step training. The team is licensed to visit as part of Phase 3 of the NCAA Return-to-Play Protocols until the start of fall camp on August 7.
âWe have other alternatives for our quarterbacks because they need to communicate and that face mask can get in the way,â Entz said. “We have spoken to folks in Sanford and are continually encouraging the wearing of a face mask and (if you do that) the chances of transmitting the virus are very slim.”
Face masks are made by the Performance Award Center in Carrollton, Texas, a company that started out more on branding products than making them, but has since expanded into other areas. Entz added that eight of the 11 Missouri Valley Football Conference teams have purchased or contacted the company.
“If we want to play football, this is what we have to do,” Entz said. “Our players wear masks in the weight room, wherever they go. That’s what we have to do.”
Valley delayed its decision to play football this fall on Monday. Next Tuesday, the NCAA board of governors will meet and may decide to cancel or postpone the fall championships, which include the FCS playoffs.