The California University of Pennsylvania Vulcans football team will resume its season on Saturday, Interim University President Geraldine M. Jones said in a statement released on Monday.
“In consideration of those players, band members, cheerleaders and others involved with the football program who have lived up to the University’s core values and expectations, Cal U’s intercollegiate football season will resume this week.
“I have told our Vulcan football players that we will strictly adhere to a zero tolerance policy. Any infraction of team conduct rules will result in immediate suspension from the team.
“I reminded the team that participation in intercollegiate athletics is a privilege, and every student-athlete must be an ambassador for Cal U. Students — including student-athletes — face penalties if they do not uphold University standards.”
The Vulcans forfeited last week’s home game against Gannon after five players were arrested in connection with a violent assault that has left one man hospitalized. Since then, a sixth player, freshman linebacker Shelby Wilkerson, 20, of Harrisburg, has been arrest in connection with the assault.
Wilkerson is the tenth Cal U football player to be arrested this season, after three players were arrested on marijuana charges in September, and one player on riot charges earlier in October. WPXI-TV Pittsburgh has published a list of 26 Cal U football players with criminal records, which accounts for nearly half of the roster. The violations have all occurred in the past two years.
Jones promised a thorough review of the conduct of the football team’s actions. Specifically, she would like to confirm that the team’s “image, recruiting, and philosophy live up to the University’s standards.” She has formed a task force lead by athletic director Dr. Karen Hjerpe and acting provost Dr. Bruce Barnhart that will “conduct a top-to-bottom review.”
The Vulcans will play the Mercyhurst Lakers in Erie on Saturday. The Lakers have won five straight games after losing their first four. The Vulcans are tied with Gannon and Slippery Rock atop the PSAC West with a 7-2 record. California was dropped from both the D2football.com and AFCA Coaches polls this week. The Vulcans remain in contention for a PSAC West championship and an NCAA Division II playoff berth.
Photo credit: California University of Pennsylvania