The Big Sky Conference will not play football this fall, according to reporting by Stadium Network’s Brett McMurphy. School presidents were scheduled to vote in the afternoon; athletic directors met earlier in the day to discuss the possibility and reportedly voted in favor of moving football to the spring.
The move affects both UC Davis, which only plays football in the conference, and Sacramento State, which won the conference title last year.
The conference’s decision means it’s possible there will be no FCS football championship this year. The Big Sky has 13 teams, which means the NCAA could have less than 50% of its usual FCS-level teams playing games this fall. The NCAA said earlier this year 50% of teams would have to play in order for their to be a championship tournament in any sport.
“Heartbroken but we’re still gonna find the positive in it and keep working,” Christian Brothers alum and current Idaho State quarterback Tyler Vander Waal said in a tweet.
Dating back to 1978, it would be the first time the NCAA won’t sanction the FCS championship. Before 2006, it referred to as the NCAA Division I-AA championship.
The move is among many in response to the unprecedented effects of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 5 million people in the United States.
On Wednesday, the NCAA canceled Division ll and lll fall championships, citing “operational, logistical and financial challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The University of Connecticut on Wednesday morning became the first FBS school to cancel football due to COVID-19 concerns.
But with large TV contract payments looming, most FBS schools still plan to play a fall slate of football games. The Big Ten, Pac-12 and other power conferences have announced plans to play a conference schedule.
The Mountain West announced Wednesday night it would adopt a 10-game schedule that includes two nonconference and eight conference opponents. UC Davis was scheduled to play Nevada and San Jose State but The Davis Enterprise reported Wednesday night those games were canceled. UC Davis was set to make $775,000 by playing those two teams.
Sac State already had a nonconference game canceled last month against the University of Washington when the Pac-12 announced they would be playing a conference-only schedule.