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Startup D-III program taking scheduling into their own hands after league decides to not play football

Keystone College (D-III - PA) has got one year of games under their belt as a new startup program, and the program was looking forward to their first season as a member of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference this fall.

However, the ECFC announced yesterday their decision to cancel the 2020 football season. That announcement came with some fine print though, as the league gave its seven members the flexibility to schedule games at their own discretion.

Keystone has decided to do just that, as they're pursuing opportunities for games with regional Division III opponents.

The league felt that their unique footprint of schools in New York (2), Massachusetts (2), Vermont (1) and Washington DC (1) made it really tough for schools to play without having to take additional risks with overnight stays.

Head coach Justin Higgins shared the following in the school's release explaining reasoning as they look for additional games.

"My stance has always been if we can make it safe and follow the guidelines, we want to try to have as normal a season as possible. Obviously, being our first year and the kids working toward that, that's the goal of every program. You want, in their best interest along with the safety interest, for the kids to get on campus and get them into as normal a routine as possible. Every school is at a different point, but currently we are still looking to continue to have as 'normal' a season as you can have."

For a startup program in a situation like Keystone, the situation COVID has placed programs in is a unique challenge. With a roster of really young players, every opportunity to get some game action in is not only vital to their development, but also to the motivation for guys on the roster to stick around and continue to build the program.

"You're always looking for and finding new ways to adapt when you're a new program. That's just the nature of it," Higgins shared.

"We just have understand things are going to be different. We know that it's not going to be the same look out there. We're going to have to practice a little differently, be in the locker room different, meetings are going to be different. Whatever the guidelines are at that time, because those obviously change, too, we'll be ready to execute. We all understand we're going to have to adjust, but we have the common goal of wanting to play. We're going to do what we need to in order to ensure that."

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