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MVFC, Pioneer postpone football season to spring

AP FILE PHOTO - Northern Iowa defensive back Xavior Williams hangs his head as officials review an Iowa State touchdown during the third overtime in a college football game on Aug. 31, 2019, at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. Iowa State won 29-26 in triple overtime.

The Missouri Valley Football Conference and the Pioneer Football League each announced on Friday their plans to not play football in the fall semester due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Both conferences said that they would come up with plans to safely play football in the spring if at all possible. It remains to be seen if the NCAA will formally push the Football Championship Subdivision season and playoffs as a whole to the spring semester, but the number of FCS teams planning on participating in a fall season fell below 50 percent — voiding the postseason.

“Without question the most important part of our decision-making process was listening to our student-athletes and hearing their feelings,” MVFC Presidents’ Council chair Jim Tressel said of what went into the decision.

The MVFC came out in favor of moving the FCS playoffs to the spring and plans to hold an eight-game spring season.

In the Pioneer Football League, which doesn’t get an automatic playoff spot, the focus was exploring options for the spring but recognizing that the fall was not an option.

“We recognize that our student-athletes will be disappointed, but our highest priority is the health and safety of all those involved in our athletic programs,” PFL Council Chair James M. Danko said. “Ultimately, the risks of proceeding are simply too high especially to ensure the safety of our students.”

Drake Athletics Director Brian Hardin also said the program supported the decision.

“The idea of not having Drake football play games over the next few months is disappointing on so many levels,” Hardin said. “… However, given the unique complexities presented by playing football in eight states across three time zones, as is the case with the PFL, this decision is in the best interest of the health and well-being of PFL student-athletes.”

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