Missouri Valley Football Conference votes to push season to spring

By Tamar Mosby, Editor

On Friday, the Missouri Valley Football Conference Presidents Council voted to push back the upcoming football season to spring of 2021 due to the continuing threat of COVID-19.

Despite this delay, MVFC teams are permitted to play up to three non-conference games this fall. 

The MVFC now joins several other collegiate football conferences who have chosen to delay their season until the spring.

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“The tipping point for the MVFC came on Thursday, when the Big Sky Conference and Pioneer League both canceled fall football, effectively eliminating the postseason. Previously, the NCAA said there would need to be 50 percent of eligible teams playing in the fall to justify a postseason tournament,” an SIU athletics statement said.

Southern is currently scheduled to face-off with the University of Kansas on Aug. 29, but Saluki athletic director Liz Jarnigan says the change of this date is highly probable.

It is uncertain whether SIU will compete against other non-conference programs, but Jarnigan is exploring the possibility as the team has currently rescheduled its game with UT Martin for an open date in 2025.

The Salukis have another game set for Sept. 19 against Southeast Missouri State University that has not yet been rescheduled.

“This decision to move to the spring comes with the expectation that our student-athletes will have an opportunity to play in the FCS Playoffs,” Jarnigan said. “The feedback we received from our student-athletes was that they want to compete for a national title. That was the rationale for our conference’s decision.” 

Practice began for the Salukis in late July, but coaches are now reconvening due to the new schedule changes. A new start date has not yet been given for the MVFC spring season.

Southern’s football program has undergone a series of three coronavirus tests with no positive results to date.

Saluki head football coach Nick Hill said that the health and well-being of the players is the primary concern of himself and his staff and that they are taking the time to hear each of their concerns.

Editor Tāmar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

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