NAIA moves football championship to spring

The National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics moved the football championships to the spring, the last fall sport championship to be moved.
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 8:51 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics postponed the football championship to the spring. It is the last fall sport to be moved, after the NAIA moved most fall sport championships to the spring on Tuesday.

In the NAIA’s statement, they said conferences are allowed to compete in the fall and winter. President and CEO of the NAIA, Jim Carr said nearly 40 percent of football teams in the NAIA have already postponed their football season.

The NAIA’s plan allows conferences flexibility and autonomy to decide when and how they want to play their games leading up to the spring.

“What the GPAC wants to do, compared to what the Red River wants to do in Texas or the Golden State Athletic Conference out in California, there is some very different situations,” Carr said.

The NAIA plans for fall championships to begin in April, with the football playoffs going until May.

The Great Plains Athletic Conference is still starting its fall season on time. With practices beginning on Aug. 15 and the first week of the football season starting on Sept. 12.

Hastings College football coach Tony Harper said given all the unknowns surrounding the season his players were frustrated before today’s announcement.

“They’re getting frustrated to be quite honest with you,” Harper said. “To be honest with you as well, coaches were getting frustrated up too this point cause you want to be able to give your players, just like your children, answers to their questions. When we don’t know, they kind of sit back and ‘Oh, man the coaches got to know.’ Well our guys have done a good job of being up front and honest we told them be patient.”

Harper said questions still remain in terms of what happens to players who lose their eligibility after the fall season and cannot play in the winter or spring? Or what happens when all Hastings College’s sports teams want to use the same facilities?

“All sports are going to be playing in the spring,” Harper said. “How are we going to adjust practice schedules and different things like that? That falls on us as coaches for us to work together and conference schools to work together. But there are a lot of things out there that we have to have a lot of good communication on. Again, I’m just glad we have a plan and our guys know what that plan is.”

Athletic Directors in the GPAC plan to meet next Tuesday, Aug. 4 to discuss further plans for the season.

Here is the NAIA’s full statement from Friday, July 31:

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Council of Presidents (COP) voted on Friday, July 31 to postpone the fall national football championship to spring 2021. This decision came after the COP voted earlier this week to postpone championships in all other fall sports until spring. This decision still allows NAIA conferences to compete in the fall and winter, if they so choose.

“The decision regarding the football championship required additional attention since the sport often operates outside of the regular conference structure,” said Dr. Arvid Johnson, COP Chair and University of St. Francis President. “The extra time allotted was to ensure that the COP representatives had adequate opportunity to gain feedback from their conference colleagues.”

The COP noted that the decision to move the football championship from the fall to spring is more inclusive for all NAIA member institutions, especially those schools that are restricted by local or state mandates from holding athletics competitions this fall.

“Moving the football championship to the spring was the right thing to do for the well-being of our student-athletes,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. “The decision also provides additional flexibility for our conferences and institutions to account for regional differences and plan their regular season accordingly.”

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