EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — College football media days are taking place across the country as kickoff quickly approaches. On Thursday, UTEP took to the podium as part of Conference USA’s virtual media day and the trending topic continues to be vaccination rates.
After a 2020 season where the Miners finished 3-5 and saw four games canceled due to the pandemic, the discussion has now shifted to how vaccination percentages could affect any further interruptions in the schedule this season.
Conference USA commissioner, Judy MacLeod, says vaccinating their student-athletes is one of the league’s top priorities heading into the college football season.
“I think we’re in a position where we won’t be postponing games, we won’t be making up games and it may be the healthiest team that makes it through to the end,” said MacLeod. “I would hate to see someone that is in the running [for a conference championship] get hit with COVID because they haven’t been vaccinated.”
UTEP head coach, Dana Dimel, echoed MacLeoud’s sentiment on the importance of vaccine education, but wouldn’t comment on what percentage of his team has been vaccinated. Dimel saying they are, “not in a position to release any [vaccination] numbers.”
“I know our players are doing a lot of research and are really studying it,” said Dimel. “The ones that aren’t vaccinated are trending more and more — our players — of getting vaccinated as we get closer to kickoff. I think the ones who are reluctant are trying to educate themselves more and trying to get past that reluctance.”
UTEP is scheduled to open the season on Aug. 28 in Las Cruces against Battle of I-10 rival New Mexico State, who canceled their 2020 fall football season due to the pandemic.
UTEP’s Jacob Cowing Named to Biletnikoff Award Watch List
UTEP sophomore wide receiver, Jacob Cowing, has been named to the preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, which recognizes college football’s top receiver annually.
Last season, Cowing earned Second Team All-Conference USA honors after starting every game for the Miners at wide receiver. The Maricopa, Arizona, native led the Miners in receiving with 41 catches for 691 yards and three touchdowns. Cowing averaged 16.8 yards per reception and 86.4 receiving yards per game, ranking him in the top 50 nationally in both categories.