In a Wednesday afternoon press release the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) announced that the conference has a plan in place to move forward with a six-game in-conference schedule set to start in March. This announcement is the first since the CAA postponed the fall season back on July 17. The plan also gives the schools the ability to schedule two games that won’t count towards the final standings.
The conference will be split into two North and South divisions with each of the school’s six games coming within their respective conference. At the end of the six-game slate, the conference champion and representative in the NCAA Football Championship will be determined by the team with the best overall conference record. The split of the two divisions is yet to be finalized but will be announced in the next several weeks.
The season is set to be a seven-week time frame to allow for a built-in bye week for each school. March 6 is the expected start date which would have the regular season wrapping up on April 17.
The two games that schools are allowed to schedule can begin as early as Jan. 23. The games are being advertised as “non-conference” games by the CAA, however, teams are only eligible to schedule with teams within the conference. What qualifies them as “non-conference” is the fact that they won’t count towards a team’s final conference record.
Joe D’Antonio’s statement in the press release highlighted the conferences desire to keep players and coaches safe while trying to keep the product as competitive as possible.
“All of our institutions know that today’s announcement is simply the first step in the planning process associated with playing football on each of our campuses in the Spring,” CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio said. “Each member institution, as well as the Conference office, has additional protocols that must be finalized and approved in order to ensure a safe return to the field. Our goal in creating this unique scheduling format was to implement a competitive model while also trying to reduce the risks associated with travel as much as we could. It’s been an extremely difficult and challenging time, but it’s nice to be able to give our coaches, student-athletes and fans something to look forward to. Health and safety remain at the forefront of every decision we are making, and we are hopeful about getting the Spring 2021 season underway.”
Teams at the University of New Hampshire have been a part of a phased restart to their practice and training schedule. Teams have just recently been cleared to resume practicing in a limited capacity.
Photo courtesy of CAAsports.com.