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Frontier Conference backtracks, postpones football season to spring 2021

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Posted at 5:18 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 21:45:25-04

WHITEFISH -- Goodbye, fall college football.

The Frontier Conference announced through a press release on Thursday afternoon its Council of Presidents (COP) has elected to join the majority of conferences across the country in postponing its football season to the spring of 2021.

"At this time, the Frontier Conference has elected to move the sport of football to the spring. The league's administrators have diligently continued to evaluate high-risk sports and have exhausted every resource available in making this decision (Thursday)," read the release from Frontier Conference commissioner Kent Paulson. "The intention of the conference has always been to place the student-athletes, coaches and support staff's safety at the very top of the priority list.

"This announcement (Thursday) will allow for all eight teams to once again operate collectively as a conference in the spring, and participate in a schedule providing that safety standards allow for play. The Frontier Conference will plan to participate in the postseason whenever the NAIA championship dates are set for next spring."

Thursday's news is the latest in an ongoing sequence of updates from the Frontier, which learned in July it would be without its three out-of-state football programs -- College of Idaho, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon.

Still, the five remaining Montana programs -- Carroll College, Montana Tech, Montana Western, MSU-Northern and Rocky Mountain College -- planned to move forward with a fall schedule, playing one another home-and-away in an eight-game, conference-only schedule.

When the NAIA postponed its fall football championships to the spring, the Frontier Conference held to its plans of participating in the fall, stating it would begin practices on Aug. 15, with competition slated to begin Sept. 12. One week later, the league announced it would delay its football competitions one week to Sept. 19, but still planned to move forward with the five-team, eight-game conference schedule.

As of Thursday, the Frontier Conference becomes the third full conference at the NAIA level to completely shift its fall football schedule to the spring, according to details sent from Paulson to MTN Sports this week. NCAA conferences like the Pac-12, Big 10 and all but one from the FCS level, the Ohio Valley Conference, have already postponed their football schedules to the spring.

Thursday's Frontier Conference release did state that the league will still participate in cross country meets, as well as hosting the conference championship meet, this fall. The league's golf programs are also currently planning to compete in the fall portion of their schedule, with the conference championships still scheduled for the spring.