JMU suspends fall football, exploring option of playing in spring

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 3:16 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - James Madison University announced Friday afternoon it has suspended its 2020 fall football season and is exploring the option of playing a spring season in 2021.

Watch JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne’s full Zoom press conference from Monday, August 10 here:

Statement from JMU on suspension of fall football season

“With nationwide developments over the course of the week and the impending postponement of the NCAA FCS Championship, James Madison has suspended its fall football season. Department focus has shifted, in collaboration with the Colonial Athletic Association and the NCAA, to exploration of a spring competitive football season.

The CAA announced the suspension of football on July 17, while leaving the door open for institutions wishing to compete independent of league play. While some CAA institutions suspended athletics at that time, JMU elected to align its decision for football with the NCAA’s championship calendar and proceeded with carrying out its return-to-play operational plans.

The NCAA Board of Governors issued updated guidance on August 5, including 1) measures for each division to make its own decisions on championships and 2) criteria for at least 50 percent of eligible institutions to compete in order to sponsor a championship. As of Friday afternoon, greater than 50 percent of FCS institutions have postponed their fall football season.”

JMU’s decision comes after The Big Sky Conference and Pioneer Football League both announced Friday they will not play football in the fall on 2020 and the Missouri Valley Football Conference is reportedly expected to postpone play until the spring of 2021. With these conference decisions, the FCS will fall below the benchmark of 50% participation by member schools required to hold a postseason in 2020.

Friday’s announcement by JMU only applies to football. Other fall sports could still compete if NCAA Championships are held for those specific sports in 2020.

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