(Stats Perform) – The final domino in FCS college football fell Friday when the Ohio Valley Conference postponed its fall conference schedule until the spring semester due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The conference’s board of presidents also voted to give the nine member institutions the discretion to play up to four games out of conference this fall. The scheduled games include defending co-champ Austin Pearly facing Central Arkansas in college football’s first game on Aug. 29 and six versus FBS opponents.
“After careful deliberation, weighing all the factors as presented, and given the current uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the OVC Board of Presidents voted to postpone the conference’s fall sports to the spring,” OVC commissioner Beth DeBauche said. “With the focus on student-athletes, the conference leaders made this value-based decision with a commitment to continue to monitor the evolving situation and to strive to establish meaningful competitive opportunities in the spring for our fall sport student-athletes.”
All 13 FCS conferences hope to play their conference schedules in the spring if health conditions are deemed safe. Some will allow nonconference games this fall.
It’s been a winding five-plus weeks of conference decisions since the Ivy League made the first announcement in Division I on July 8. The Patriot League followed on the FCS level and then the MEAC, CAA, SWAC, Northeast, Pioneer, Big Sky, Missouri Valley, Big South, Southland, Southern and finally the OVC. All five independent programs also are out for the fall.
At the time of the OVC announcement, 26 of the 127 overall FCS programs were either preparing for a small nonconference schedule or had yet to announce they are no longer pursuing one.
The annual FCS playoffs will not be held this fall, but the conferences have the expectation they will be held in the spring.