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Southland Conference postpones fall competition

By CRAIG HALEY

Stats Perform FCS Senior Editor

(Stats Perform) - As the first Division I conference to hold its virtual football media day last month, the Southland tried to keep hope alive for navigating their 2020 schedule through the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, the Southland announced a reversed course after the conference's board of directors voted to postpone league competition this fall with the intent of shifting the season to the spring semester.

The 11 football members are allowed play a limited number of nonconference games this fall. Southland commissioner Tom Burnett said a dozen games remain scheduled, including FBS matchups and defending conference co-champ Central Arkansas playing Austin Peay in the FCS season's first game Aug. 29 in Montgomery, Alabama.

Nicholls, which has won two straight conference titles, and McNeese were the first Southland programs to announce they won't play out of conference.

"We are comforted with knowing these final decisions were made with the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, other game participants and extended groups in mind," Burnett said.

"Also keep in mind, and sometimes we lose sight of this, but our institutional leaders are working on much larger issues to return their campuses back to whatever sense of normal they can. That's a big, big item, and athletics are just a part of that."

The Southland is the 11th out of 13 overall FCS conferences to postpone fall competition. The Ohio Valley and Southern conferences have yet to announce a final decision about fall competition.

Updated August 13, 2020

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