Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney football program has officially canceled the 11th Annual Loper Football Backers dinner and scholarship fundraiser. “We have been back and forth on whether to proceed with the Football Backer Banquet or not. We were hopeful that postponing the event to a later time would help remedy the situation. Unfortunately, the concerns about growing number of COVID-19 cases and challenges of hosting the same quality event that we have become accustom to with the Loper Football Backer Banquet do not seem feasible this year,” said UNK Director of Athletics Marc Bauer. “This is not the way we planned to kick-off the 2020 season; however, we will continue to remain mindful of everyone’s concerns and optimistically look forward to the Lopers taking the field at Cope Stadium this fall.”
The popular event was originally set for Thursday, April 23, but moved to Tuesday, July 22, due to the pandemic. “After careful consultation and time with our Backer Banquet Committee members regarding the Loper Backer Banquet – our donors, our fans, our administration, and our players – we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Loper Backer Banquet,” said UNK head football coach Josh Lynn. Since its inception the event has generated $1.72 million dollars for Loper football. The night has included a social hour, live and silent auctions, raffles, a scholarship ask, speeches from the UNK Athletic family and highlights about the football program. “Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented time. I am very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it is the right decision based on the information we have today,” Lynn said. “This event gets bigger and better every year and we need to keep the momentum going. We are exploring options with our members to coordinate a 2020 season kickoff event before our first game.”
UNK is set to begin fall camp on Monday, August 10, with the season opener coming at home on Saturday, September 12, vs. Northwest Missouri State. “We thank everyone who has contributed to this great event this year. We look forward to bringing you the Loper Backer Banquet back in the spring of 2021,” Lynn said. Bauer added, “Coming off of the most successful seasons in recent years, we were excited to see where the momentum could lead our football program. Although there is much uncertainty about the coming season, our fans are ready for Loper football. We could not start the season with a more formidable opponent in Northwest Missouri State. Anticipation continues to be high for the rise of Loper Football and the Football Backer Banquet is the one event that rallies our donors, alumni, and fans to support Coach Lynn and the efforts of his staff and players.” The Lopers went 7-5 in 2019, picking up the program’s fourth all-time postseason win, going 4-1 on the road and having 14 All-MIAA selections.