FCS Football Playoffs Won't Be Played in Fall amid Pandemic

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 7, 2020

North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson (1) scores in the first half of an FCS playoff NCAA college football game against Montana State, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Fargo, N.D. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
BRUCE CRUMMYY/Associated Press

The FCS playoffs will not take place this fall if the season goes on as scheduled.

According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), the Football Championship Subdivision will not meet the NCAA's requirement that 50 percent of eligible teams play the regular season in order to hold a playoff. 

The CAA, Ivy, MEAC, Northeast, Patriot, Pioneer, Big Sky and SWAC conferences have all canceled their seasons because of concerns over COVID-19, meaning more than 70 of the FCS' 127 programs will not be in action. 

Per the Associated Press: 

"The NCAA board of directors gave the Division I Council until Aug. 21 to determine the status of playoffs, which have been held annually since 1978. The NCAA expanded them to 24 teams in 2013.

"If FCS members wind up shifting their season to the spring semester, it's possible a regular season would lead to playoffs."

Remaining FCS conferences including the Big South, Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley, Southern and Southland have yet to make a determination on playing football this fall.

James Madison, a CAA school which finished as the national runner-up last year, already won't be playing this fall. If the Missouri Valley opts out, that means powerhouse North Dakota State will not be able to seek a fourth-straight title in 2020.

If playoffs are going to happen for the FCS, pushing the competition to the spring semester offers the best opportunity. 

"We will now shift our attention to doing everything within our power to provide our football student-athletes and coaches with a conference schedule and a championship [playoff] opportunity in the spring," Big Sky commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. "We already have begun actively engaging our fellow FCS conferences and the NCAA to join us then for what will be a unique opportunity to return to competition and compete for an FCS championship."