Due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Big Sky Conference announced on Aug. 7 it 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 health and safety of our students is our top priority, and ultimately that concern guided our decision-making process over the past few months as we explored every option regarding the 2020 football season,” said Andy Feinstein, president of the University of Northern Colorado and chair of the Big Sky Presidents’ Council. “We recognize just how meaningful these opportunities are to the student-athletes, coaches, and staff throughout our conference, and empathize that they won’t be able to compete this fall for a Big Sky championship. We are eager to provide our football programs with that opportunity in the spring when it’s hopefully safer to be able to do so.”

Kevin Blue, U.C. Davis’ Director of Athletics, wrote  a letter to the U.C. Davis community later the same day in which he noted, “The future remains very bright for UC Davis Athletics due in large part to the incredible achievements of our teams and outstanding leadership from our campus administration. Whenever possible and as allowed by our safety protocols, we will continue to train and prepare for the return of sports. Our student-athletes will have access to workout, receive medical care, and meet with their coaching staff as needed to be ready when that day comes.”

Non-conference play for the conference’s football programs is still pending further review. The Big Sky has begun exploring modified versions of a conference football schedule to be played in the spring and fully supports the NCAA shifting the FCS championship to the spring.

“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,” Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. “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.”

Big Sky institutions may continue with permissible athletics activities at their discretion while abiding by NCAA legislation, campus policies, and local and state regulations. Other Big Sky sports that compete in the fall will continue to be reviewed with a final determination made at a later date.