College Football

FCS scenarios feeling more dire

By CRAIG HALEY

Stats Perform FCS Senior Editor

(Stats Perform) - If Power 5 conferences are mulling the potential final days for a fall season, could it signal only hours are left on the FCS clock?

While all the tumultuous weeks in college football bleed together, the fractured season appears even more dire due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nine of the 13 FCS conferences in the lower half of Division I have announced they won't play a conference schedule, and only two - CAA Football and the Missouri Valley Football Conference - have left the decision to play nonconference games up to their member schools. The Big South, Ohio Valley, Southern and Southland conferences held presidents-level meetings last week, but have yet to announce their direction.

The prospect of having any college football in the fall worsened over the weekend. On Saturday, the Mid-American Conference became the first FBS conference out of 10 overall to postpone its fall season. It was followed by a reported emergency meeting between Power 5 conferences - the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC - to discuss postponing their season until the spring semester, provided health conditions are deemed safe.

"It doesn't look good," one Power 5 athletic director told ESPN.

Just one Power-5 conference deciding it's out of a fall season could knock down all of the remaining dominoes. FCS conferences and the levels below them that have postponed their season have maintained they can't ensure the safety of student-athletes and those involved in athletics from the spread of coronavirus. The costs of COVID-19 testing also has factored heavily into decisions.

Preseason practices in Division I have been underway since as early as July 31.

"We are taking this one day at a time," said Wofford coach Josh Conklin, whose defending SoCon champion began practices this past weekend. "We are not going to be able to control when we play - whether that be in September, October or in the spring. What we are trying to get the guys to understand is to just enjoy being on the field and take one day at a time. Once we get more clarity, we will approach that when necessary."

Monday morning brought the first defection of the week. Tarleton, a Texas school which joined the FCS as an independent this summer, announced it will shift its first season to the spring semester.

Updated August 10, 2020

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