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NAIA moves football to spring championship

Julie Rach
Hamburg Reporter

The NAIA Council of Presidents (COP) voted Friday, July 31, to postpone the football national championship until spring 2021. This decision comes on the heels of the COP voting on Tuesday to postpone all other fall sport championships until the spring. This decision still allows NAIA conferences the flexibility to play their regular season in the fall, winter, or spring.

During the July 28 COP meeting, it was determined that football required additional attention since the sport often operates outside of the regular conference structure. The additional time was to allow COP members to have adequate opportunity to gain feedback from their respective colleagues before voting.

The decision was announced by Arvid Johnson, Chair of the NAIA COP, and Jim Carr, President of the NAIA. Johnson, the University of St. Francis president, stated, "The decision regarding the football championship required additional attention since the sport often operates outside of the regular conference structure." Johnson added, "The extra time allotted was to ensure that the COP representatives had adequate opportunity to gain feedback from their conference colleagues."

Moving all the fall championships to spring is the most inclusive option for our members, especially those schools that are not able to participate in athletics this fall. By moving the championships to the spring, student-athletes at these schools will have the possibility of participating in a national championship.

This decision also allows the greatest autonomy to our institutions in regards to scheduling and because of that flexibility, sports will be able to extend their maximum number of contests back to the original number allowed, if they so choose.

These decisions are unprecedented, which makes it difficult to foresee all the consequences that will need to be addressed. Know that we are working as quickly as possible with the various governance groups to establish updated processes and protocols that will best support our student-athletes. Thank you for your patience as we navigate this new terrain and we will update you as soon as information is available.

CEO Carr added, "Moving the championship to the spring was the right thing to do for the well-being of our student-athletes." Continuing Carr noted, "The decision also provides additional flexibility for our conferences and institutions to account for regional differences and plan their regular season accordingly."

Additional Information

Similar to Tuesday's announcements, many decisions still need to be made regarding the move. The 2020 football championship was originally scheduled to begin on Nov. 21 for first-round games and was to have culminated Dec. 19, 2020, at the Eddie G. Robinson Stadium in Grambling, La.

Peru State Football Plans

The Bobcat football team is scheduled to return to campus on Monday, Aug. 10, to begin conditioning. The first official practice allowed by the NAIA at this time is Saturday, Aug. 15.

Peru State will follow the plans of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) which intends to move forward with fall competitions at this point.

The 'Cats are scheduled to open on Saturday, Sept. 12, against the Benedictine Ravens in Atchison, Kan., at 1 p.m. Peru State's home opener is the following week when they host MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) at 6 p.m. in the historic Oak Bowl.