Montana high school fall sports teams have started practices for the 2020 seasons. That's the good news for Treasure State sports fans.
The bad news? There will be limited college sports competition this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Big Sky Conference and Great Northwest Athletic Conference have postponed all fall sports competition, wiping out the seasons at Montana, Montana State and Montana State University Billings. The Frontier Conference has moved its football and volleyball seasons to the spring, leaving only golf and cross country teams to compete this fall.
Yes, it's going to be a barren college sports landscape in Montana and beyond as all football conferences at the FCS, NCAA Division II and III, and junior college levels have called off playing games in 2020. All is not yet lost, though. There are still six FBS conferences scheduled to play this fall, and the College Football Playoff (CFP) Selection Committee, which is not affiliated with the NCAA, announced it is continuing to prepare for the season and will "announce the matchups for the Playoff Semifinals at the Rose Bowl Game and Allstate Sugar Bowl, as well as the other New Year's Six bowl pairings," on Sunday, Dec. 20.
As of Aug. 17, the American Athletic Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big 12 Conference, Conference USA, Southeastern Conference (SEC) and Sun Belt Conference are all planning to play football this fall.
Though the Frontier Conference reversed course last week and decided to postpone its college football season, the NAIA still has six conferences set to play in some capacity this fall. The North Star Athletic Association, which has been won by Dickinson (N.D.) State the past five seasons, is still planning to play, and teams were permitted to start practices last weekend. The Great Plains Athletic, Heart of America and Kansas Collegiate Athletic conferences have also announced plans to move forward this fall. There will also be limited participation from the Mid-South Conference, where only the Sun Division will play this fall, and the Sooner Athletic Conference, which will have teams play three conference games in the fall and six in the spring.
A list of the college football conferences still planning to play games this fall is below.
(Note: This list does not include independent programs or teams still planning to play non-conference games. This list, which will be updated as necessary, includes only conferences that have announced plans to play their conference schedules this fall.)
American Athletic Conference (AAC)
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) -- Notre Dame will also play a 10-game ACC schedule and be eligible for the ACC championship.
Big 12 Conference
Southeastern Conference (SEC)
Sun Belt Conference
NCAA Division II
NCAA Division III
Great Plains Athletic Conference
Heart of America Conference
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference
Mid-South Conference -- Sun Division only
North Star Athletic Association
Sooner Athletic Conference -- Teams will play three conference games in the fall and six in the spring.