MVFC Commissioner remains hopeful for spring football season
FARGO-- On paper it was set to be a season of firsts in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. It included the University of North Dakota joining in and North Dakota State seeking a historic ninth FCS title. The 2020 college football season though will not have an entirely new look.
“There’s just no more kicking the can down the road and we’ve got to make decisions with the best information we have available to us,” said MVFC Commissioner Patty Viverito.
The league’s announcement Friday to postpone conference games until the spring gives hope that something could be made of this academic year.
“I was absolutely not ready to give up on playing football this academic year. I know that the spring brings a whole host of challenges that are going to be very difficult to overcome and there are no guarantees, but we’ve got a chance,” said Viverito.
“It’s definitely going to be weird, it’s something that has never been before and so it’s uncharted territory and so have the last four months,” said NDSU Athletic Director Matt Larsen.
The Bison are not ruling out playing non-conference opponents in the fall, even considering having teams come to Fargo to play those games.
“If we have an opportunity to play three games this fall and do it in a really safe way, we’re going to try to maximize that opportunity,” said Larsen.
The Fighting Hawks on the other hand are shifting their focus only to the spring of 2021.
“Much like the conference has decided that conference games are best to be played in the spring. I think in our situation we want to just focus on that at this stage of the game. Each school has to make their own choice, we’re comfortable with the direction that we’re going,” said UND Athletic Director Bill Chaves.
It wasn’t an easy decision but after the Big Sky’s announcement to postpone their conference season earlier this week, that put the FCS at under 50-percent of schools competing. That meant no post-season would be played in 2020.
“So once the fall playoffs were off the table and competing for a national championship in the fall was off the table our path became pretty clear. What we heard is they want to play and they want to play again for a path to the national championship,” said Viverito.
Viverito added that it will be up to the NCAA to decide now if these programs can still practice in the fall and winter, since their season is moving to the spring.