Occidental College, a Division III program in Los Angeles, has called off Saturday's scheduled game with Pacific University due to a lack of players.
The program started the year on a wobbly start after head coach Doug Semones retired on July 18. Rob Cushman was hired away from Minnesota-Morris on Aug. 1, but the late changes forced the Tigers to begin the season with just 47 players. Two players have since left the team and nine are unavailable due to injury, leaving just 36 players available for Saturday's tilt.
As such, the program has called the game off.
"This is a painful decision, but in the final analysis the only responsible decision I could make. Over the past 24 hours, I have had multiple conversations that included team seniors, coaches, trainers, the dean of students, the dean of the college, and President (Jonathan) Veitch," athletics director Jaime Hoffman said in a statement. "Without question, our student-athletes are ready to play. In no way does this decision reflect on their commitment, talent, or work ethic. However, the inevitable conclusion, given the state of our depth chart, was to not go forward with Saturday's game. "
The Tigers dropped their opener 61-6 to Puget Sound in Washington. Saturday's game with Pacific was a home game for Occidental. Pacific, located in Forest Grove, Ore., was not informed of the cancellation until Thursday.
An unnamed source told D3Football.comthat the team wanted to play Saturday's game. Occidental is the fourth Division III team since the turn of the century to call off a game due to a player shortage, according to the website.
"As a (representative) of the Oxy football team I can tell you we were eager and ready to compete against Pacific. On behalf of the entire Occidental College football team, we want it to be known we are outraged by this decision."
Occidental, which went 1-8 last season, is off on Sept. 23 before returning to action against Redlands on Sept. 30.