San Jose State Football players arrive on the Humboldt State University campus to start their training camp outside of Santa Clara County before the start of the season on Oct. 2 2020 | Photo by Thomas Lal

Spartans arrive at HSU despite campus concerns


***Editor’s note: SJSU football program was tested in congruence with Mountain West conference guidelines***

The Spartans have arrived and this time they’re not carrying spears or shields. Instead the San Jose State football team stepped onto the Humboldt State campus on Oct. 2 with bags full of clothes, televisions, gaming consoles and plenty of padding. As 141 players, coaches and trainers streamed out of the six buses into a school that hasn’t seen college football since 2018. 

Humboldt State students received an email on Sept. 30 that the San Jose State football team would be arriving within the week. Initial reports suggested that the Spartan football program would be at HSU for one week per the Spartan Daily student newspaper from SJSU. The duration of their stay is not confirmed and could be longer. 

According to the Humboldt State Athletics Department, the length of the Spartan football team’s stay at HSU depends on the regulations set forth by Santa Clara County where SJSU is located. 

“It’s uncertain at this point as it depends on the needs of SJSU and how quickly they may be able to return to their campus to practice and play games,” the HSU Athletics Department said in an email. “They are working with Santa Clara County Health to get approval for that as soon as possible.”

SJSU Head Coach Brent Brennan said in a press conference on Oct. 5 that the arrangement between San Jose State and HSU came quickly with the need to start full contact practices soon. 

“I think it probably came together in about a week, maybe a little less than that,” Brennan said. “President Jackson here and their Athletic Director Jane Teixeira and our Athletic Director Marie Tuite, our CFO Charlie Faas, Dr. Papazian, it was just a mad dash that way.”

As of Oct. 5, Santa Clara County has announced that they are moving into the third tier of COVID-19 classification after seeing an decrease in new cases each day. While there is still no official time set for the Spartan football team to be on the HSU campus, this development could mean that the team may return to San Jose sooner rather than later. 

“It was a slap to the face on rec sports. Because we really didn’t know what the hell was going on. We thought it was Athletics. We were like ‘Athletics, what the heck?’ and then Humboldt County was like ‘Yo, what the heck?’ But it wasn’t really Athletics’ fault.” 

Martin Gordillo

While the team is on campus, they will be responsible for testing their athletes and personnel using their own testing resources. In an email sent out on Oct. 1, Humboldt State told students that will be tested once per week. This runs contrary to Mountain West conference protocol who state on their website that athletes will be tested three times each week. It is unclear whether this testing will apply to the preseason training that the Spartans are currently participating in. 

While the Spartans are on campus, Humboldt State’s own NCAA teams will still have access to facilities during their scheduled times in order to continue their preparation for hopeful upcoming seasons.

“HSU sport programs are still using Redwood Bowl during their regularly scheduled and reserved time periods,” HSU Athletics said in an email.

Even as the San Jose State team was arriving on campus HSU students and athletes alike were confused and upset that more context had not been provided for the team’s arrival. One of the loudest voices that could be heard across social media was that of the club sports on campus that have been unable to hold practices since COVID-19 shut down the majority of sports. President of HSU Club Baseball Martin Gordillo was upset that the communication between the administration and recreational sports teams was not more clear. 

“It was a slap to the face on rec sports,” Gordillo said. “Because we really didn’t know what the hell was going on. We thought it was Athletics. We were like ‘Athletics, what the heck?’ and then Humboldt County was like ‘Yo, what the heck?’ But it wasn’t really Athletics’ fault.” 

According to Gordillo, there was a miscommunication between Athletics and recreational sports which was clarified in a meeting with several of the club sports and the Athletics Department.  

“In reality it wasn’t Athletics,” Gordillo said. “It was mainly more towards the Chancellor’s Office who made that decision on whether or not to allow athletics to continue to practice but not rec sports.”

Gordillo stressed that while he feels that communication can be improved between rec sports and athletics, there is a disconnect with how the Chancellor’s Office views rec sports in comparison to NCAA athletics. 

“I believe the Chancellor’s Office has made it seem like they really don’t care about rec sports that much,” Gordillo said. “They don’t see us and [NCAA] Athletics as equal. Not Athletics in general. Athletics wants to work with us. They really want to have our voices heard.” 

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