The Southland Conference announced early last week that football will be returning during the spring 2021 semester. This is the first fall sport to be officially rescheduled since the announcement of all fall sports being canceled for the year.
“We are very pleased to confirm our delayed 2020 Southland Conference football schedule into the 2021 spring semester,” SLC Commissioner Tom Burnett said
This announcement was made as a follow up to the announcement made Aug. 12 that all fall sports would be postponed and scheduled to a later date.
“While the spring playing opportunity will be different in many ways, we are looking forward to providing this competitive and championship opportunity for our participating football programs, their student-athletes and coaches, and all of the fans and followers of Southland football,” Burnett said.
With the new format, each SLC team will be allowed a maximum of eight total games on the season. This will include six conference games, with non-conference games determined at a later date.
The post season will also have a different format this year. For the Football Championship Subdivision, the playoffs will now only include 16 teams rather than the normal 24. This will allow for 11 conference winners and five additional at-large bids.
The FCS playoffs will begin on April 24 and will host the championship game at Frisco’s Toyota Stadium on the weekend of May 15-16.
“When we first started looking at the difference between playing football in the fall or the spring, the priority for us was having the chance to play for a championship,” Director of Athletics Bobby Williams said.
The Bearkats have a chance this season to make a strong run into this new format. After a season in which they finished fourth in the SLC while riddled with injuries, they are excited for the opportunity of this year.
“We talked to our players about not playing in the fall, I think in the program was disappointed,” head coach K.C. Keeler said. “But when they understood there was a chance to play for a championship in the spring, it really got everyone excited. As I’ve said many times, this program has been in five Final Fours in the last decade, and that is rarified air. We want to add a national championship to this program’s resume and it’s great to be at a place where the administration understands that is the goal of the program.”
The Bearkats will open their conference schedule Feb. 20 in San Antonio against the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals.