With the Sheyenne River still rising, and a voluntary evacuation in place for half the community, Valley City State University cancelled the remainder of its spring sports season on Wednesday.
With President Steven Shirley deciding to close down the campus for the rest of the spring semester, athletic director B.J. Pumroy said bringing student athletes back into town, while some folks flee from their homes, just didn’t make sense.
“It certainly wasn’t a decision we made lightly, but considering the severity of the situation, we thought it was in the best interests of everybody to make the decision we did,” Pumroy said. “It’s under the premise of half the town is being asked to leave. We just didn’t feel comfortable about bringing 50 student athletes back into town.
“Obviously, there was some disappointment. But at the same time, our coaches and our student athletes know what’s happening on the front lines of the flood. It’s a tough time for everyone. We just hope everyone gets through it safe.”
Shirley, and to a lesser degree Pumroy, are both adjusting to the situation on the fly. Shirley is in his first year as the school’s president, while Pumroy is completing his second year as the Vikings’ AD.
Pumroy, a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, spent 18 years at Truman University in Missouri, including when that school went through a flood fight of their own in 1993, but not at this scale, he said.
“This is pretty unprecedented,” Pumroy said. “It’s been pretty incredible, though, how people have come together to fight this thing.”
More on this story in tomorrow’s edition of the Sun.