If and when Stephen F. Austin plays football in 2021, it will be in the fall.
The Southland Conference, of which the Nacogdoches, Texas, based school is a member, was among the last of the FCS leagues to fold up shop on the idea of a fall 2020 season.
“The Board concluded that an entire fall sports season is not likely, and that a postponement to spring can provide the important opportunities our teams annually seek,” commissioner Tom Burnett said in the league's announcement last Thursday. “While disappointed that we won’t be playing these sports in the Southland’s 58th year of fall competition, we look forward to a unique spring season of athletics that also includes NCAA postseason opportunities.”
A spring schedule has not been released, but SFA has already determined it will not be a part of it.
“We don’t have any desire right now to play in the spring,” SFA AD Ryan Ivey told Texas Football. “It doesn’t do anything for us as we go into the 2021 season...our goal right now would be to opt out of the spring altogether.”
Without a Southland schedule, SFA will attempt to go it alone. The Lumberjacks have a Sept. 26 game at SMU still on the schedule, but nothing beyond that. Ivey will line up games against whoever happens to be available, be they from the FBS, FCS, a lower division, or even a fellow Southland bunk mate still trying to make the most of their own fall season.
While part of the reason SFA will skip a potential spring season are philosophical, part are specific to SFA's circumstances. The program is currently serving an NCAA probation dating back to violations committed by the previous regime, and Colby Carthel's program fields a young roster limited by NCAA-mandated scholarship reduction.
For them, it doesn't make sense to play in a bastardized spring season that would also limit their chances of competing in fall 2021.
Read the full report here.
Thursday Update> SFA has now added a game at UTSA.