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NAIA postpones football championships until spring 2021

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The NAIA has postponed the football championships to spring of 2021.

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- On Tuesday the NAIA postponed all fall championships until the spring, except for football. On Friday, the NAIA College of Presidents voted to postpone the football championships until the spring of 2021.

Conferences like the GPAC, which includes Morningside, Briar Cliff, Northwestern and Dordt, can still compete this fall, and the GPAC plans to play. The NAIA says moving the playoffs helps conferences that are restricted by local or state mandates from playing.

Morningside has won the last two NAIA titles, playing the finals in Florida and Louisiana. The Mustangs have been number-1 in all the preseason polls.

"It's going to be very different," said Morningside head coach Steve Ryan. "I think it's going to be critical that you're flexible and you can work with the differences. But without question you've got a fall season and if you're fortunate enough to be in the situation where maybe you'll make the playoffs, you have to at that point, prepare for the spring. And that makes for a long year."

NAIA practices can start on August 15, which gives teams about a month before their first games. Morningside is in an enviable position, they'll start the season with a 29-game winning streak. They haven't lost a game since the 2017 playoffs. But even the Mustangs know there are a lot of things they can't control in 2020.

"I think the NAIA did the right thing by making a decision so that we can go forward without the answers to a lot of different things," said Ryan. "If a guy plays for one team in the fall can he play for a different team in the spring? Eligibility-wise, what am I going to do if I don't pass classes, is that guy still eligible? There's a lot of questions that need to be answered."

Morningside is scheduled to open the season September 12 against Northwestern in Sioux City.

Brad Pautsch

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