While all the tumultuous weeks in college football bleed together, the fractured season appears even more dire due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nine of the 13 FCS conferences in the lower half of Division I have announced they won't play a conference schedule, and only two - CAA Football and the Missouri Valley Football Conference - have left the decision to play nonconference games up to their member schools. On Saturday, the Mid-American Conference became the first FBS conference out of 10 overall to postpone its fall season.
The number fell below the threshold on Friday after both the Pioneer Football League and Big Sky Conference announced they won't have fall competition due to concerns over the COVID-19 global pandemic. The number of schools not playing is nearing 75 out of 127 programs, factoring in a few CAA schools considering independent schedules and Big South members Hampton and Monmouth opting out of playing even if their conference has a regular season.
The governing body set Aug. 21 as the deadline for individual sports across its three levels to determine whether it can safely have a regular season and postseason during the COVID-19 pandemic. It said the FCS - the 127-member lower half of D-I college football - will only have a playoff if at least 50 percent of eligible programs play this fall, and the 24-team event can be reduced in size. The board of governors, the highest ruling committee at the NCAA, did not use its authority to determine whether there would be championship events in 22 sports.