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Report: Patriot League to suspend all fall sports including football

The FCS league had only one scheduled football guarantee game this upcoming season

Alec Wisniewski of the Colgate Raiders during a game against the Army Black Knights at Michie Stadium. Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

UPDATE 11:27 a.m. The Patriot League has released a statement saying all fall sports will not engage in competition in the fall semester:

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Recognizing the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to present significant challenges to our campuses and communities, the Patriot League Council of Presidents announces the following decisions regarding Patriot League competition:

Patriot League teams will not engage in competition in the fall season (championship and non-championship);

Decisions surrounding winter and spring sport competition will be made at a later date; and,

The opportunity for conditioning, strength training and other practice opportunities in all sports will be permitted provided health and safety conditions support such activities.

Because the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy are unique in their environments and their missions within higher education, the Council of Presidents agree that the academies may continue to engage in competitive opportunities as considered appropriate by their respective Superintendents. The collegiate athletics experience at all Patriot League institutions is valuable to fulfilling our educational and developmental missions, and the League recognizes that any degree of non-competition this fall is deeply disappointing to our student-athletes, coaches, and fans. However, the health and safety of our campuses and communities must be our highest priority. The League is committed to exploring creative approaches and alternatives to providing future competitive experiences to our fall sport student-athletes, including the possibility of conducting fall sport competition and championships in the second semester.

News out of the Patriot League today, as Matt Brown (our old boss!) of the Extra Points newsletter brings word of the Patriot League ending all fall sports including football.

As far as FBS football schedules go, this changes three games; the Syracuse Orange were scheduled to face the Colgate Raiders on September 19th in the Carrier Dome, the Army Black Knights were to host the Bucknell Bison on September 4th, and the Holy Cross Crusaders were to take on the Boston College Eagles on Halloween. Because of the PL’s football scholarship policy only changing in 2012, some schools in the league still weren’t offering enough football athletically-related aid so as to be counted for bowl game eligibility. That gives FBS teams less incentive to schedule teams for a paycheck.

With the Ivy League making their move to suspend, this doesn’t come as a surprise. The Patriot is an academically-focused league as well, with selective institutions that tend to put an emphasis on the undergraduate experience over playing sports competitively. John Feinstein even wrote a book about it, and the Patriot League has a copy of that book available on their website. It’s an older view of intercollegiate athletics, but one that works for member schools, and a model that won’t be changed anytime soon despite added commercialism in the NCAA.

No FBS league has voted not to play football yet, but several have chosen to go to a conference-only model.