It may only be June, but the first Grizzly home football game will arrive in early September, and the University of Montana is preparing for whatever may come in this era of COVID 19 and the George Floyd tragedy.

At a ZOOM press conference on Tuesday, Athletic Director Kent Haslam began by admitting that he and the athletic department are operating in uncharted waters.

“I need to spend a lot of time listening,” said Haslam. “I need to educate myself on issues revolving around racism and how we treat each other and lack community. We know that we’re as diverse a department as any on this campus. That’s what makes us strong, and I look forward in the future to have some great discussions with our student athletes, with our coaches and understanding more.”

Haslam said his office is planning for a full Grizzly football season.

“I think it was important for us to let folks know that we’re planning to play football in the fall,” he said. “We want to develop a plan and then go back to the county health officials and engage that at the state level. We have to be in concert with Montana State as well, so that we make sure that we’re doing things similarly.”

After answering questions from the media, Haslam closed the 30 minute ZOOM press conference with a pledge to unify his athletic department, come what may.

“I believe we’re a model for how we can come together,” he said. “I believe that so strongly. Sports is not perfect, I get that, but sports offers such a great glimpse into this team and its unity. We don’t have to be the same to be one. We don’t have to be the same to be together, and I think that’s modeled so well in athletics. Thos of us in leadership positions have got to do all we can to listen and we do our best to understand, and the best we can to unite.”

The Montana Grizzly football season is scheduled to begin on Saturday, September 5 hosting Central Washington.