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Patriot League announces 'guidance' for 2020 season; games to be canceled or moved

On Monday, the Patriot League announced "guidance" for the upcoming football season that was more restrictive than any we've seen at the Division I level thus far.

The Patriot League is a 7-team FCS conference comprised entirely of private schools in the Northeast: Georgetown, Fordham, Colgate, Lehigh, Bucknell, Lafayette and 2019 champion Holy Cross.

"In recognition of the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, the Patriot League Council of Presidents announces the following principles, which will guide the development of a Patriot League Fall 2020 Athletics Plan that makes the health and safety of our communities its highest priority," the league's chief executives said.

Those guidances include:

-- Athletes will return to campus at the same time as the rest of the student body

-- Patriot League play will begin at the end of September, and regular season play will be completed before Thanksgiving

-- Non-conference play will not begin before Friday, Sept. 4

-- Patriot League schools will confirm non-League members will comply with any and all COVID-19 safety protocols

-- No Patriot League teams will fly to competitions, and "with rare exceptions," teams will not take overnight trips

Those guidances will apply to all fall sports, including football.

This means that, on its face, the following games would need to be rescheduled or outright canceled.

-- Stony Brook at Fordham (Saturday, Aug. 29)
-- Lehigh at Villanova (Thursday, Sept. 3)
-- Colgate at Western Michigan (Friday, Sept. 4)
-- Fordham at Hawaii (Saturday, Sept. 12)
-- Georgetown at San Diego (Saturday, Nov. 21)

Like all other FCS conferences, Patriot League regular-season play will conclude on Nov. 21, within the guideline set by League presidents.

Monday's announcement made no indications on postseason play. Holy Cross was the League's only representative in the 2019 FCS playoffs; the Crusaders were eliminated in the first round.

"Patriot League Athletics Directors and League staff will develop schedules to meet these criteria, which will be announced at a future date," the league's statement concluded.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.