The NCAA approved a plan to allow the 2020 FCS football season to be played in the spring of 2021, the governing body of collegiate sports announced on Wednesday.
Sixteen FCS teams will qualify for what will be a shortened postseason. The FCS playoffs will start April 18 and finish by May 15.
FCS teams, including Duquesne and Robert Morris locally, can play eight regular-season games over a 13-week period in the spring, beginning Jan. 23 and running through April 17.
Teams that intend to play in the spring can begin practices on Sept. 21. The teams will have 12 hours per week of fall practice time, followed by 20 hours per week of preseason training camp for the final two weeks before games start.
Robert Morris is expected to begin play in the Big South Conference this spring. The Colonials left the NEC in July and had been expected to play the 2020 season as an independent and joint the Big South in 2021, but will instead join the conference immediately.
The Dukes will remain an associate member of the NEC. The schools had been scheduled to play a non-conference game this fall. It’s unclear if any non-conference games will be played as part of an eight-game schedule.
Every FCS conference has either postponed or canceled outright their fall 2020 season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.