NATCHITOCHES – The COVID-19 pandemic has caused much uncertainty around college athletics.
With the reality of starting the 2020 football season on time coming into sharper focus, the Demons Unlimited Foundation in conjunction with the NSU football program has unveiled an initiative to help prepare the team for preseason practice.
It is anticipated the NCAA Division I Council on June 17 will approve a three-phase plan permitting football student-athletes to return to campus and begin preparations for preseason camp in August. Even if the proposal is not approved, a high percentage of the football team will return to campus after the July 4 holiday weekend to participate in voluntary workouts.
Returning student-athletes and the NSU coaching and support staff will continue to observe the voluntary workout policy that was established in collaboration with Natchitoches Regional Medical Center – a policy that includes antibody testing for all student-athletes prior to starting workouts.
The NSU football program has estimated a cost of approximately $85,000 for its 85 scholarship players to cover summer housing and on-campus meal plans. As such, the DUF and the Demon football program are looking for donors in order to pair each donor or donor group with an individual player, who will film a thank you video and send it to a chosen donor.
Donations will cover the cost of meals and summer housing for NSU’s 85 scholarship players, who under the new proposal will return to campus July 6 and begin the three-tiered summer program before starting preseason camp Aug. 5 ahead of the Sept. 3 season opener against Incarnate Word at Turpin Stadium. Payments can be divided into monthly installments and can be made online at www.NSUDemons.com/ALLIN or by texting NSUALLIN to 71777.
Donors have the option to choose either a specific player or whichever player wears a specific number to sponsor. The donors will be invited to campus Aug. 15 for a preseason scrimmage after which they will be given the chance to meet the player they sponsored.
More than a quarter of the total ($22,000) needed already has been raised through early Thursday afternoon. Any funds that surpass the $85,000 total will remain in the Demons Unlimited Foundation Football Fund and utilized to enhance preseason camp.
“This fund gives us an opportunity to bring back our student-athletes to prepare for the 2020 season and to see our student-athletes for the first time since March 13,” head coach Brad Laird said. “We are grateful for the donations that have been made so far, and we look forward to seeing our alumni and donors continue to step up in this unconventional time.”
Laird also touched upon the importance of bringing the 85 scholarship Demons back to campus in July from a team-building focus. Donations will give the players the financial freedom to focus on conditioning and team activities in a close-knit setting, putting in place a foundation for success. The NSU football team has adopted “All In” as its 2020 mantra, asking fans and potential supporters, “Are you all in with us?”
The Demons Unlimited Foundation serves as Northwestern State University Athletics official 501(c)(3) organization supporting all 14 Division I programs at NSU. Supporting the Demons Unlimited Foundation helps provide financial assistance for athletic scholarships, departmental and team support, as well as marketing efforts.