The Missouri Valley Football Conference Presidents Council announced Friday night that the league’s schools will not conduct conference competition this fall.
Instead, the MVFC plans to play a full eight-game spring league schedule with the expectation to culminate the season with the FCS Playoffs.
National fall postseason play was canceled earlier Friday when the Pioneer League and Big Sky Conference backed out of their 2020 schedules due to concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That decision left the Football Championship Subdivision below the NCAA mandated 50% threshold needed to have a championship playoff.
“Without question the most important part of our decision-making process was listening to our student-athletes and hearing their feelings,” stated Jim Tressel, chair of the MVFC Presidents Council and President at Youngstown State University. “What we clearly heard was that they want to play this year for a chance to participate in the FCS Playoffs.
“It’s great to know that they believe we are taking all the steps necessary to keep them safe in the process. All 11 MVFC teams weighed in with their positions on the options we considered, and all thoughts and concerns guided our thinking.”
The Presidents Council also voted that nonconference competition this fall may still be conducted at institutional discretion.
The University of Northern Iowa sent out a release later Friday night announcing that the Panthers will not participate in nonconference games this fall and will look to reschedule those contests in future years.
Two-time first team all-MVFC defensive back Xavior Williams announced Friday on Twitter that he will be entering the transfer portal in hopes of competing this fall in order to fulfill a dream of playing in the NFL.
Due to MVFC moving their season to the spring and my goal to play in the NFL, I have decided to enter the transfer portal. Thank you to everyone at Northern Iowa. I’m excited to see where my next journey takes me! 🙏🏽— Xavior Williams (@xaviebaby22) August 7, 2020
“Thank you to everyone at Northern Iowa,” Williams stated. “I’m excited to see where my next journey takes me.”
Williams has one season of eligibility remaining.
Associated Press second team all-American defensive end Elerson Smith will also be entering the transfer portal prior to his senior year.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved at the University of Northern Iowa for my time spent there,” Smith tweeted on Saturday.
I’d like to thank everyone involved at the University of Northen Iowa for my time spent there. But at this point with the season being canceled I will be entering the transfer portal.— Elerson Smith (@ElersonSmith) August 8, 2020
A third Panther, offensive lineman Spencer Brown, will opt out of the spring season and focus on training.
“I am not playing for anyone but UNI,” the 2019 second team all-MVFC lineman said, addressing his college plans.
UNI fans who have already purchased season tickets have four options:
- —Transfer your season tickets to the spring season. Panther Scholarship Club seat contributions are still required and must be pledged by Oct. 1. Those that transfer their tickets to the spring and make their PSC pledge by the deadline will receive 200 Panther Points.
- —Transfer the balance of your account to the Panther Scholarship Club as a 100% Tax-deductible donation.
- – Apply the balance of your account as a credit toward fall 2021 season tickets.
- – Receive a full refund.
Season ticket holders have until Sept. 1 to make a selection. Those that do not make their selection by the deadline will automatically be enrolled in the spring option. If a spring season is not feasible, a UNI Athletics representative will reach out to all season ticket holders to assist them on the best option for their situation.
UNI volleyball, soccer and cross country are still preparing to participate in fall sports seasons with the Missouri Valley Conference, a separate entity than the MVFC.
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