MSU Addresses Delay of Football Season To Spring
The Big Sky Conference met late Thursday to discuss the upcoming fall season. Friday, August 7th the conference made an official announcement stating:
Due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Big Sky Conference is postponing its fall 2020 football season to spring 2021. The conference's Presidents' Council convened Thursday and voted to move forward in this manner.
The conference plans to play an eight-game schedule in spring.
Hear from Leon Costello, Jeff Choate, and several Bobcat Football student-athletes regarding the Big Sky Conference Announcement in the video below.
Big Sky Conference Commissioner Tom Wistrcill stated in the release Friday:
This is the right decision for our member institutions, even though we realize how disappointing it will be for all who represent and care about Big Sky football. We will now shift our attention to doing everything within our power to provide our football student-athletes and coaches with a conference schedule and a championship opportunity in the spring. We already have begun actively engaging our fellow FCS conferences and the NCAA to join us then for what will be a unique opportunity to return to competition and compete for an FCS championship.
The Big Sky Conference made their official announcement on Friday, August 7th at 10 a.m. Before this many news sources were eager to report on the change to the conference schedule and ESPN stated: "The Big Sky Presidents' Council met Thursday to discuss the plan, which has not yet been finalized, and will reconvene Friday for further discussion about both football and the rest of the conference's fall sports slate."
This news comes on the heels of six other FCS football conferences canceling their fall seasons. With the Big Sky's 13 teams delaying into spring this could result in the cancellation of the 2020 FCS playoffs.
Earlier this week the NCAA stated, "if 50% or more of eligible teams in a particular sport in a division cancel their fall season, there will be no fall NCAA championship in that sport in that division."
Below is the full press release from Friday from Montana State University:
The Big Sky Conference announced Friday that the league’s football season will move to the spring semester of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Montana State University Director of Athletics Leon Costello said the decision gives clarity to MSU’s football student-athletes and coaches, who have been in participating in workouts in Bozeman since June.
“This is an unprecedented time, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through this process,” Costello said. “This decision allows our student-athletes, coaches, and staff the opportunity to prepare and play for a championship with the potential of maximizing fans in Bobcat Stadium. In honest conversations with our student-athletes, the points I heard most consistently were the importance of playing for a championship, playing in front of our fans and providing a safe environment.”
Costello said keeping Bobcat Athletics student-athletes, coaches and staff healthy – and managing the coronavirus as a community – remain the highest priority. “Everything we do is based on the health and well-being of our student-athletes,” he said. “To accomplish our goals we need to follow CDC protocols and county health directives. We need to wear a mask, wash our hands, avoid large social gatherings and follow protocols to stay healthy and get to the spring football season.
“Bobcat Athletics is part of a much bigger team, which is Montana State University. We need to do our part in helping promote campus safety by being leaders and following health and safety guidelines so we can enjoy the benefits of a full athletic and academic year. We appreciate the leadership provided by President Cruzado and the entire MSU campus, along with our partners at Bozeman Health, which allow us to be in a position to play football in the spring.”
Non-conference play for Big Sky football programs is pending, and the league is exploring modified versions of a spring conference schedule. Big Sky Commissioner Tom Wistrcill indicated that the league fully supports the NCAA shifting the FCS Championship to the spring and that conference schools may continue with permissible athletics activities while abiding by NCAA legislation, campus policies, and local and state regulations. The league continues to review the status of other fall sports, with a final determination coming at a later date.
Bobcat ticket and season information will be available sometime in August, according to Costello. “Please mask up,” he said, “and we are in this together!”
Bobcat Football Pictures
It's so sad to hear that we will have to wait for Bobcat Football. Check out some pictures below from some of the past fun we've had out at Bobcat games.