Official Statements from SHSU Director of Athletics Bobby Williams and Stephen F. Austin Director of Athletics Ryan Ivey regarding halftime on Saturday at the Battle of the Piney Woods at NRG Stadium:

Bobby Williams – Director of Athletics, Sam Houston State University
“I have been part of the SFA rivalry for more than 38 years and am very proud of this tradition. It can bring out the best in all of us who participate in college football, however that passion can sometimes cloud the spirit of good sportsmanship. The incident on Saturday was not representative of the values of this team or our university, and we are working with SFA to ensure how both universities can better honor this rich tradition.
In addition, we are working internally with our football staff to develop a better transition plan from halftime to the second half in order to give the bands full opportunity to showcase their hard work.”

Ryan Ivey – Director of Athletics, Stephen F. Austin State University

"The Battle of the Piney Woods rivalry provides so much of what is good about college athletics. Passion, pride and competitive spirit abound through both institutions. Unfortunately, this Saturday produced an incident that neither institution condones. We will continue to work together to promote positive sportsmanship and provide positive examples to everyone associated with this historic rivalry. I am confident in our ability to work collaboratively to ensure this situation does not reoccur, and I ask both fan bases to allow appropriate and fair action to take place. We can and should be the example of how rivals can work together for the betterment of the whole.”


Since 1923, football teams from Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State University meet on the field every season in what has become one of the oldest continuous rivalries – the Battle of the Piney Woods.

This past Saturday, NRG Stadium hosted the 94th year of this proud tradition where players, fans, spirit programs and the bands came together for love of the sport, their team and university. Like any sports rivalry, there is a heightened sense of passion and emotional intensity.