CU football

These lockers at Nokes-Lasater Field might just stay empty for a while as the Mid-South Conference leadership ponders the fate of the 2020 football season. 

Conference AD's drafting plans --

While the NAIA Council of Presidents has voted to push the 2020 football playoffs and national championship game to 2021 - Mid-South Conference leadership is meeting this week to decide the fate of the regular season.

Cumberland University football coach Tim Mathis, in Florida last weekend for a family wedding, can do little more than bide his time until a decision is made.

"Football coaches, me included, are by nature planners," Mathis said. "I just want to be able to give my players a plan and some details. Right now, everything is in the hands of the MSC leadership. We don’t care if it’s on ice -- we will put some skates and play."

Mt. Juliet High graduate Michael Jasper is the head coach at Cumberland's Mid-South Conference rival Bethel College in McKenzie.

"Like I told our football team, I don't care if it's on Mars in mid-December, we will be ready," Jasper said.

The MSC had previously trimmed the 2020 football schedule down to nine games from 11 and had eliminated overnight travel.

Should the conference opt for games in the spring, member schools might petition to hold "mini-camps" later this fall if conditions allow.

Any plans developed by these meetings, which are scheduled to wrap up Thursday, must be ratified by the presidents of MSC member institutions.

“The decision regarding the football championship required additional attention since the sport often operates outside of the regular conference structure,” said Dr. Arvid Johnson, COP Chair and President of the University of St. Francis, (IN).

“The extra time allotted was to ensure that the COP representatives had adequate opportunity to gain feedback from their conference colleagues.”

“Moving the football championship to the spring was the right thing to do for the well-being of our student-athletes,” said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr.

“The decision also provides additional flexibility for our conferences and institutions to account for regional differences and plan their regular season accordingly.”

Championship dates are currently being discussed by the NAIA and the National Administrative Council which will be announced later this fall.

Earlier last week, the NAIA's Council of Presidents decided to move traditional fall sports men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, and women's volleyball championships to the spring.

This decision gave the NAIA conferences the flexibility to play their regular seasons in the fall, winter, or spring.

The fate of these regular seasons will also be hashed out this week as meeting progress. There is a chance some sports, non-contact in nature, could compete on a limited basis this fall.

Back in March, the NAIA canceled both the women's and men's basketball national championship tournaments as well as pulled the plug on baseball, softball, track & field and tennis in mid-season due to concerns over COVID-19.

If there was a silver lining relating to these actions, any spring sport athlete who was enrolled full-time in 2020 was granted an additional season to play in the spring of 2021 -- provided they remain academically eligible.

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