The fate of the 2020 FCS fall season is unknown. Between now and early August, expect many announcements regarding how conferences are proceeding. Some leagues have already announced the cancellation of their fall season.
We’ll keep track of it all right here to keep you informed on which FCS conferences have canceled fall sports, which conferences still plan to play and any new contingency plans put in place to play games this fall.
Last updated at 11:15 a.m. CT on Aug. 13.
FCS NATIONAL UPDATE: On Aug. 5, the NCAA announced that each division will determine the status of fall championships.
On Aug. 13, the the Big Sky announced all other fall sports will be postponed. The press release also noted, “Additionally, the Presidents’ Council confirmed that non-conference contests will not be permitted in any Big Sky fall sport, including football.”
On Aug. 7, the Big Sky announced it will play its conference schedule in the spring, while non-conference games are still under review. “Non-conference play for the conference’s football programs is still pending further review. The Big Sky has begun exploring modified versions of a conference football schedule to be played in the spring and fully supports the NCAA shifting the FCS championship to the spring,” the press release states.
On Aug. 6, HERO Sports’ Brian McLaughlin tweeted the Big Sky is expected to announce it will play its conference schedule in the spring. Several Big Sky beat writers and other national media outlets confirmed later that night. An announcement is expected the morning of Aug. 7.
The Big Sky was originally planning on making an announcement regarding the fall season by the end of July. But on July 30, the conference announced its Presidents’ Council has decided to reconvene after the Aug. 4 NCAA Board of Governors meeting.
On July 17, commissioner Tom Wistrcill told HERO Sports regarding the fall season: “We are still having discussions with our Presidents and Athletic Directors. All options are still on the table as we monitor the decisions made by other conferences.”
On July 15, Idaho announced plans for how home games will be held in the fall.
On July 8, conference commissioner Tom Wistrcill said his confidence is about 50-50 on fall sports happening.
On Aug. 12, the Big South announced it has postponed its fall season with hopes of playing in the spring. The Big South Football Members voted to allow up to four non-conference games in the fall at institutional discretion.
In an Aug. 3 article, Charleston Southern athletic director Jeff Barber said the Buccaneers are determined to play their season this fall, whether there is a playoff to aim for or not.
Big South member Hampton announced on July 13 that it will not be playing fall sports. And on July 27, Monmouth announced it has canceled all fall sports competition.
The rest of the conference is currently proceeding as scheduled.
On July 22, the conference announced it will begin fall sports competition on Thursday, Sept. 3.
“The decision was made by the league’s Executive Committee in consultation with the Big South Council of Athletics Directors, Chief Executive Officers and medical professionals, and provides each member institution the opportunity to further focus on return to competition protocols and necessary resources to facilitate the resocialization process, while maintaining competitive opportunities for its student-athletes this fall,” the press release said.
On July 17, the CAA announced its decision to cancel fall sports competition. However, the conference “would permit member institutions the ability to explore the option of pursuing playing an independent football schedule in the Fall of 2020.”
JMU, Elon and Villanova announced they will explore fall seasons. JMU has said as long as the FCS playoffs are still in place, they want to play this fall.
Via press releases:
JMU: “While the CAA has suspended Fall football, JMU continues under medical guidance to plan for all Fall sports so long as the NCAA maintains its current championship calendar.”
Elon: “Director of Athletics Dave Blank said Elon is currently monitoring pandemic conditions while also making plans to compete as an independent in football and seeking opponents to replace canceled conference games.”
Villanova: “Villanova Athletics will consider all possible scenarios for its football season and is continuing to review opportunities for all of its student-athletes to train and condition with their coaches and receive athletic instruction upon returning to campus.”
The Ivy League announced on July 8 its decision to cancel its fall season.
Per a press release, a decision on the remaining winter and spring sports competition calendar, and on whether fall sports competition would be feasible in the spring, will be determined at a later date.
The MEAC announced on July 16 its decision to cancel fall sports.
“A decision is yet to be made on whether fall sports schedules will be moved to the 2021 spring semester,” a press release said.
On Aug. 7, the MVFC announced it will play its 8-game conference scheduled in the spring. The conference will also allow teams to play non-conference games this fall at institutional discretion.
“Without question the most important part of our decision-making process was listening to our student-athletes and hearing their feelings,” Jim Tressel, chair of the MVFC Presidents Council and President at Youngstown State University, said in the press release. “What we clearly heard was that they want to play this year for a chance to participate in the FCS Playoffs. It’s great to know that they believe we are taking all the steps necessary to keep them safe in the process. All 11 MVFC teams weighed in with their positions on the options we considered, and all thoughts and concerns guided our thinking.”
On July 27, the MVFC announced it is not ready yet to make a decision regarding the fall season: “The Missouri Valley Football Conference Presidents Council has determined patience is warranted regarding any decision to modify the 2020 Fall season, seeing merit in delaying as long as there remains a possibility to provide a safe competitive opportunity for MVFC student-athletes. The MVFC and its Presidents Council will continue to monitor national developments and, if necessary, will consider additional action as dictated by circumstances.”
On July 27, Missouri State athletic director Kyle Moats told Wyatt Wheeler this regarding the MVFC: “We want to wait until the very end. We’re going to wait until the Big 12, the ACC and the SEC make their decision. We’re not going to get out in front of them. Once they make their decision, then we’ll make our decision.”
On July 25, Southern Illinois announced it has added FBS Kansas to its 2020 schedule. The game is scheduled for Aug. 29 with a payout of $300,000. Also, it was announced Missouri State’s game against Oklahoma has been moved to Aug. 29.
The SIU-Kansas and Mo State-Oklahoma games are now scheduled for Week 0, getting waivers approved by the NCAA to play Aug. 29.
On July 9, MVFC commissioner Patty Viverito said “I’d consider our chances pretty good” if they had to play regional games.
On July 29, the NEC announced it will postpone fall sports competition.
“The NEC Council of Presidents agreed to reconvene again by October 1 to evaluate the public health crisis and competitive options moving forward,” the press release stated.
On Aug. 14, the OVC postponed its fall season. Football teams are still allowed to play up to four non-conference games.
“What we know is that there is a sure, clear intention for the vast majority of us to have the fall [season] and we’re trying to work together,” Commissioner Beth DeBauche told Prairie State Pigskin on July 8. “We know that things will look very different; that’s the known that we have. It’s going to look very different in terms of structure.”
On July 13, the Patriot League announced the cancellation of fall sports competition.
“The League is committed to exploring creative approaches and alternatives to providing future competitive experiences to our fall sport student-athletes, including the possibility of conducting fall sport competition and championships in the second semester,” a press release stated.
On Aug. 7, the PFL announced it will not play football games this fall. “Recognizing competition is an integral part of the student-athlete’s educational experience, the PFL is committed to exploring meaningful opportunities and experiences for football student-athletes this academic year, if this can be done reasonably and safely,” the press release said.
On Aug. 6, HERO Sports’ Sam Herder tweeted “A Pioneer Football League player told me the team was just informed the conference will not play games this fall. They were told to expect an official announcement tomorrow.”
On July 27, the PFL announced it will not play nonconference football games. And if held, a conference-only schedule would begin Sept. 26.
“The Council will vigilantly monitor national developments, ensuring the league’s plans continue to be supported by current medical evidence and guidance. It is the Council’s intent to ensure the health and welfare of student-athletes and the communities in which they live.”
On Aug. 13, the SoCon announced it has postponed its fall season with the hopes of playing in the spring. Non-conference games can be played this fall if desired.
On Aug. 4, our Brian McLaughlin tweeted four SoCon schools feel more strongly than others about playing in the fall — Chattanooga, The Citadel, Mercer and VMI.
The SoCon is currently proceeding as scheduled for the fall season. Like many conferences, it is monitoring the situation and will make a decision based on the local and national COVID outlook.
On July 16, Jeff Hartsell tweeted that the SoCon still plans to play football in the fall.
On Aug. 13, the Southland announced it has postponed fall sports with an intent to explore conference competition in the spring semester. Institutions may choose to participate in limited fall competition.
On Aug. 5, Central Arkansas AD Brad Teague told George Stoia III “as of right now, the Southland Conference still intends to play football this fall even if there is no FCS playoffs. And if the Southland postpones or cancels football, UCA will still try to play.”
On July 22 at the Southland Conference media day, commissioner Tom Burnett said, “We are planning to proceed with the 2020 season as scheduled, in the fall.”
On July 20, the SWAC announced it has postponed its fall sports season.
The conference immediately released how it plans to play games during the spring semester.
“Specifically, in the sport of football the plan includes a seven-game conference schedule beginning with an eight-week training period in January 2021. Each member institution will play a total of six conference games (four divisional/two non-divisional) with the option to play one non-conference game.”