The 2020-21 FCS football season has been moved to the spring.
One by one, conferences are announcing their spring schedule along with the NCAA approving the spring playoff format.
Here’s a running update of FCS conferences and what their spring seasons look like. We’ll update this article every time a conference announces their format.
NOTE: 11 of the 13 FCS conferences plan to play in the spring. The Ivy League and MEAC won’t participate in the spring season.
The Big Sky will play six conference games over an eight-week period beginning Feb. 27 and ending April 10. Teams will not be permitted to play non-conference games in the spring.
The schedule maintains key rivalry matchups and bus trips to help reduce travel while each team faces at least three opponents from its original Fall 2020 schedule.
The Big South spring schedule will feature five teams playing a four-game conference slate. The first games will be March 13.
The five teams competing will be Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb, Kennesaw State, Monmouth and Robert Morris. RMU is new to the conference and is eligible for the Big South championship and automatic berth to the postseason. Teams opting out are Campbell, North Alabama and Hampton.
Teams can play up to four non-conference games in the spring.
The CAA will play a six-game conference schedule with the option for schools to add up to two non-conference games. Conference play begins March 6 and ends April 17. Each team receives a bye during the seven-week timeframe. Based on NCAA guidelines, teams are allowed to begin non-conference competition as early as Jan. 23.
The North Division will include seven teams – UAlbany, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Stony Brook and Villanova. There will be four teams in the South Division – Elon, James Madison, Richmond and William & Mary. Teams in the North will face each other once (three home, three away), while teams in the South will meet twice, with each team getting a home and an away game. Towson announced on October 19 that it would not compete during the 2021 Spring season.
The Ivy League will not have a spring football season.
The MEAC has suspended its spring season after six of the nine teams have opted out. The MEAC’s decision to cancel the spring football season does not prevent individual member institutions from participating in football competition. At this point, Delaware State, Howard and South Carolina State have expressed an intent to play this spring.
The Valley will play an eight-game conference-only schedule over a nine-week period beginning Feb. 19.
The scheduling model follows a “Southern Start” with early-season games played either at domes or at institutions in the southern-most part of the league footprint. The first few weeks has games on a Thursday, a Sunday and on Fridays and Saturdays to accomodate domes. The final six weeks has every game on Saturdays.
The NEC plans to play a four-game conference schedule starting on March 5-7. Institutions will be provided the discretion to schedule non-conference competition prior to the start of the NEC season.
The conference will have a championship game on April 16 or 17 to determine the NEC’s auto-bid into the playoffs.
The OVC will begin conference play on Sunday, Feb. 21. The spring schedule will feature eight teams playing seven league games over an eight-week period. Games will be played on Sundays with the exception of Easter weekend when the games will be played that Saturday.
Teams can play one non-conference game which would take place on the weekend of February 13-14.
Six Patriot League teams will play this spring with games set to begin on Saturday, March 13. Colgate, Fordham and Holy Cross will play in the North Division. Bucknell, Lafayette and Lehigh will play in the South Division. Teams will play each divisional opponent once with two non-divisional games.
Georgetown will not play this spring.
The Pioneer Football will play a six-game conference season starting March 13. Individual members may schedule non-conference games prior to the league’s March 13-April 17 window.
The SoCon’s nine teams will complete a full conference schedule over nine weeks, beginning Feb. 20 and ending April 17.
The Citadel, Mercer, Chattanooga and Western Carolina each scheduled at least one non-conference game this fall, but still plan to play in the spring.
Southland play begins Feb. 20 and ends April 10 with six league games for its participating seven members – UIW, Lamar, McNeese, Nicholls, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State and Southeastern Louisiana.
Abilene Christian, Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist and Stephen F. Austin are choosing to play this fall and not in the spring.
With several open dates and the NCAA allowing teams to play eight total games in a 13-week period that begins Jan. 23, Southland programs have the opportunity to schedule two non-conference games.
The SWAC begins conference play the weekend of Feb. 27. Each team will play six conference games, four against division opponents and two against non-division opponents.
The schedule includes one non-conference open date for each team.
The season ends with the Cricket Wireless SWAC Championship Game on May 1.