College Football

Spring playoff proposal in FCS set for vote

By CRAIG HALEY

Stats Perform FCS Senior Editor

(Stats Perform) - The proposed 16-team FCS playoff for a spring 2021 season could be approved on Wednesday.

The NCAA Division I Council is expected to vote during a virtual meeting on the FCS championship committee's proposal, which is backed by the Division I Football Oversight Committee.

"I think it's fully supported," Patty Viverito, one of 40 D-I Council members and the commissioner of two FCS conferences - the Missouri Valley and Pioneer League - said Tuesday.

All 13 FCS conferences postponed their league schedules this fall due to concerns over COVID-19. If health conditions allow for them to compete in the spring semester, the regular season would start in late February and occur over a shorter time period, so the annual playoffs that have involved 24 teams since 2013 also would be shorter. Ten conference champions would still receive automatic bids, but there would be six at-large teams instead of the usual 14.

The national championship game would be held on May 15 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

"A priority from the very beginning was to play games this year, and that's occurring, which is good," Viverito said. "The second priority was not to do anything that would negatively impact the normal start of next (fall) season. We need to be very cognizant that we are asking our student-athletes to play up to eight (regular season) games and a four-week playoff in advance of a full season that is going to start, literally, weeks later (with offseason activities). At some point, you have to weigh the medical impacts, both physical and mental, and make decisions that are prudent. And I think what the FCS (championship) committee has laid out is prudent."

Updated September 15, 2020

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