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UNK to play four football games this fall

Nebraska-Kearney joining fellow MIAA schools in Missouri Western State and Pittsburg State to play four games this fall.
Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 1:36 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The University of Nebraska at Kearney football team will play four non-conference games this fall.

UNK, Missouri Western State and Pittsburg State announced today a non-conference scheduling alliance that allows the three Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) members to play a partial 2020 schedule beginning in late October.

The “scheduling alliance” was created following the cancellation of the 2020 football season by the MIAA and the 2020 NCAA Division II Fall championships by the Division II Presidents Council. It creates an avenue for the Griffons, Lopers and Gorillas to play a limited number of games this fall while keeping the health and safety of their student-athletes, coaches and fans as a top priority.

In the scheduling alliance, MWSU, UNK and Pitt State will each play two games against each other while filling the remainder of their schedules with other NCAA Division II and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) institutions.

“This gives our football student-athletes an opportunity to compete in a few contests this fall. Our students and coaches are better off engaging in activities together,” UNK Athletics Director Marc Bauer said. “Studies demonstrate that participation in sports has many significant benefits, such as improved academic achievement, high energy levels and a focused mindset. We want to provide the best possible experience and opportunities for our student-athletes to succeed and do it safely.”

UNK, which began practice Sept. 15, will host Chadron State (Nov. 7) and Missouri Western State (Nov. 21) and travel to Pittsburg State (Oct. 31) and South Dakota Mines (Nov. 14). Both Chadron and SDMT are members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC).

The alliance among MIAA member schools in football also allows MIAA cross country teams to run in several meets this fall. That schedule for the Lopers will be announced soon. Later this fall the MIAA league office will announce spring schedules for both volleyball and soccer. Those sports will play a conference schedule followed by an MIAA Championship tournament.

UNK and its opponents will be tested for COVID-19 once a week, per NCAA resocialization rules. UNK Athletics also has a daily COVID screening process that has taken place since June 1. Fans will be allowed to attend UNK games, with more information and policies to be announced later. Each school may have different attendance policies.

By playing this fall UNK will not play any games in spring 2021. That time will be reserved for traditional spring practice.

“Although we are still pursing and working closely with campus health to manage the challenges to mitigate COVID, our campus leadership and their unwavering support and commitment to the health and well-being of our student-athletes have been tremendous,” Bauer said. “We know our circumstances have not been easy for anyone, and we are taking this opportunity seriously.

”The alliance we have built with AD Jim Johnson of Pittsburg State and AD Josh Looney of Missouri Western State shows that we are making small strides and working together to get back to some sense of normalcy for everyone."

UNK went 7-5 last fall, winning the Mineral Bowl in December. Among the returners are 2020 MIAA Freshman of the Year TJ Davis (quarterback) and 2019 all-conference selections Dayton Sealey (running back), Corey Hoelck (left tackle), and Kooper Reece (right tackle). The current roster of 124 players features 18 seniors and 18 juniors.

2020 UNK Football Schedule

Oct. 10 Blue/Gold Scrimmage 3 p.m. Kearney

Oct. 31 @ Pittsburg State 1 p.m. Pittsburg,

Nov. 7 Chadron State 3 p.m. Kearney

Nov. 14 @ South Dakota Mines 2 p.m. (CST) Rapid City, South Dakota

Nov. 21 Missouri Western State 1 p.m. Kearney

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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