As coronavirus uncertainty looms, NCAA council loosens football scheduling parameters for 2020

The NCAA has made it easier for college football teams to fill their 2020 schedule in the event teams have to scramble to find games amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council voted to allow voluntary workouts for football and basketball players starting June 1. That’s the biggest development from the virtual meeting. But the council also granted some scheduling waivers in an attempt to proactively make it easier for schools to play a full schedule if teams across the top level of college football don’t play football in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 130 FBS schools at the top level of college football are now not required to play 60 percent of their games against fellow FBS schools or play five home games against FBS opponents. That would allow an FBS team to fill a schedule with FCS schools in the event that multiple opponents weren’t playing football in 2020.

Teams at the FCS level are now no longer required to play at least half of their games against either FCS or FBS opponents. That means FCS teams can play Division II teams to fill a schedule. 

We don’t know of any schools that are not planning to play football in the fall and those decisions are still likely weeks away for the schools considering not having a season.

Attendance minimums waived

The council also voted to waive the minimum attendance requirements for schools at the top level of college football for the next two seasons. Per NCAA bylaws, FBS teams must “average at least 15,000 in actual or paid attendance for all home football contests over a rolling two-year period.” While that’s a requirement that teams sometimes meet through varying means, the waiver means that schools can freely make safety decisions regarding fans in the stands in 2020 without having to worry about attendance minimums.

Teams are also allowed to offer at least 75 percent of the maximum financial aid limit for players for three seasons. That’s a blow to some players on future rosters at smaller schools as they could be facing smaller scholarships. But it’s also a move designed to help those schools facing financial hardship because of the pandemic.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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