KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The 2020 NAIA football playoffs will have to wait.
On Friday morning, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics council of presidents (COP) voted to postpone the fall championship playoffs until the spring of 2021. The decision comes days after the NAIA previously elected to conduct its other fall sporting championships in the spring.
“The decision regarding the football championship required additional attention since the sport often operates outside of the regular conference structure,” said Dr. Arvid Johnson, COP Chair and University of St. Francis President, through an NAIA release. “The extra time allotted was to ensure that the COP representatives had adequate opportunity to gain feedback from their conference colleagues.”
Conferences and teams within the NAIA will still be allowed to compete in the fall, or even winter, if they so choose. The Frontier Conference originally planned to play its schedule this fall, despite losing its three out-of-state teams -- College of Idaho, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon -- until at least Nov. 1. Their parent conference, the Cascade Collegiate Conference, was one of many to postpone its fall athletics calendar, with a plan to re-evaluate later this fall.
According to the NAIA release, the COP believed that moving the postseason to the spring would benefit the entirety of its members, especially those currently restricted due to local or state guidelines preventing athletic events being held.
“Moving the football championship to the spring was the right thing to do for the well-being of our student-athletes,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. “The decision also provides additional flexibility for our conferences and institutions to account for regional differences and plan their regular season accordingly.”
Frontier Conference commissioner Kent Paulson told MTN Sports on Friday morning, league administration would meet on Friday afternoon. Officials within the league previously held meetings this week to discuss the potential of hosting athletic events this fall. An announcement is expected by next week.