CAA becomes fourth FCS conference to not play football in the fall

Just how many FCS teams will be playing college football in the fall?

The CAA became the fourth FCS-level conference to say that it wouldn’t play football and other sports in the fall. The CAA said in a statement Friday that it would explore the idea of a spring season and that teams would have the option to play as an independent in the fall of 2020 if it was feasible.

“I commend the Board of Directors for their forward thinking and open-mindedness when dealing with the uncertain and complex moment that we find ourselves in,” CAA commissioner Joe D’Antonio said in a statement. “Each of our institutions is making the best decisions for its campus community, based on a totality of the circumstances analysis.”

The CAA’s decision comes after the MEAC said it wouldn’t play football this fall earlier in the week. The Ivy League said it wouldn’t play any sports during 2020 on July 10, and the Patriot League said on July 13 that it would be canceling fall sports.

The conferences’ decisions have impact at the FBS level. Teams from the CAA, MEAC and Patriot League were all scheduled to play top-tier FBS teams at various points in 2020. That means teams from any of the eight FBS conferences that have, as of now, not canceled non-conference games are looking for replacement games if they had a CAA, MEAC, Patriot League, Big Ten or Pac-12 team on their schedule.

Northern Illinois has lost three of its four non-conference games so far. The Huskies were scheduled to play Iowa and Maryland as well as host CAA member Rhode Island. So has Ball State. The Cardinals lost games against Michigan and Indiana and was supposed to open the season at home against Maine.

The decisions by multiple FCS conferences not to play football in the fall also come as the NCAA relaxed bowl eligibility rules for the 2020 season. The NCAA said earlier this week that teams could count two wins against FCS opponents to get to the six wins needed for bowl eligibility.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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