The Big South Conference has postponed its college football season with the intention of playing in the spring of 2021, and Robert Morris has joined the conference in announcing the postponement of its season.
Robert Morris had been set to join the Big South as an associate member for football in the fall of 2021 after leaving the Northeast Conference on July 1. The original plan for the 2020 season was for Robert Morris to play as an independent, while retaining its NEC schedule.
When the Northeast Conference postponed its season, Robert Morris and Big South officials made plans to have the Colonials join the conference in time for the 2020 season. Now, it appears the Colonials will plan to start Big South football in the spring of 2021.
“RMU Athletics will work directly with the Big South Conference to shift our attention and provide our student-athletes and coaches with a conference schedule and a Big South Conference championship opportunity in the spring,” RMU athletic director Chris King said in a press release.
“With the excitement of playing as a first-year member of the Big South Conference, we recognize how meaningful this opportunity was for our student-athletes, our coaches and staff in competing for a conference championship in a new league. We also recognize that our student-athletes and coaches will be disappointed, but our highest priority has been, and will continue to be, the health and safety of those involved in our athletics program. Our entire department has been dedicated throughout the summer to keep our student-athletes, coaches and staff safe as they returned to campus for workouts and practice.”
The NCAA has already announced that there will be no FCS playoffs in 2020. The Big South was one of four leagues, including the Ohio Valley Conference, SoCon and Southland Conference that had not already cancelled or postponed their 2020 football season.
“We are all broken-hearted that we will not be able to provide competitive opportunities for Big South student-athletes this fall,” Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander said. “However, the path forward must protect the health and safety of our student-athletes, and some of the current trends and unknowns with COVID-19 have made that a huge challenge. Our intention is to shift these fall seasons to the spring, as we would like nothing more than to crown Big South champions in all 19 of our sports this year if possible.”
The Colonials are coming off a 7-5 season that included a 6-1 mark in NEC play in the second season under head coach Bernard Clark. After dropping four of their first five games, the Colonials won six of their last seven, including a rivalry win over cross-town foe Duquesne.
RMU left the NEC for the Horizon League in most sports in July. The Horizon League does not sponsor football, which necessitated the move to the Big South in that sport.