Missouri Valley Conference, eyeing FCS playoffs, opts for spring season

The Missouri Valley Conference will move its football season to the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The league's presidents council announced Friday that it would not conduct conference play this fall, instead moving to an eight-game spring schedule, with the expectation that the season will culminate with a spring Football Championship Subdivision playoff.

The FCS playoffs were shelved for the fall on Friday after the subdivision fell short of the NCAA mandate that 50% of eligible teams participate in regular-season play.

"Without question the most important part of our decision-making process was listening to our student-athletes and hearing their feelings," said Youngstown State president Jim Tressel, who is also the council chairman. "What we clearly heard was that they want to play this year for a chance to participate in the FCS playoffs. It's great to know that they believe we are taking all the steps necessary to keep them safe in the process. All 11 MVC teams weighed in with their positions on the options we considered, and all thoughts and concerns guided our thinking."

The Missouri Valley is home to FCS perennial power North Dakota State, which currently holds an FCS-record 37-game winning streak and eight FCS championships overall, including the past three.

The council also voted to allow the conference's member schools to conduct fall competition at their own discretion. Missouri State has already stated it still intends to play nonconference opponents in the fall, including a currently scheduled Aug. 29 game vs. Oklahoma, according to KOLR-TV.