Towson University’s football program had one path cleared to play a spring schedule after its conference announced plans Wednesday to start play in March.
The Colonial Athletic Association announced a plan to have a six-game conference schedule that will include an option to add up to two nonconference opponents. Conference play will return March 6 and will end April 17. In the seven weeks of the CAA’s schedule, each team will receive a bye week. Based on NCAA guidelines, teams are allowed to begin nonconference competition as early as Jan. 23.
When reached for comment, a Towson athletic spokesperson declined to say whether the Tigers would play this spring.
The conference will use a North/South divisional format, with all six league games coming against teams within the division. The team with the best overall conference record will be the conference’s automatic qualifier to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. Should the divisional champions finish with the same record, a tiebreaking policy will be used to determine the automatic qualifier.
The makeup of the divisions and the final conference schedule will be announced in the next several weeks.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
The CAA on July 17 suspended the 2020 football season because of the coronavirus pandemic. On Sept. 22, the NCAA Board of Directors voted to narrow the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs to 16 teams, instead of 24, with 11 automatic qualifiers and five at-large berths. The FCS playoffs are set to begin April 24, with the championship concluding some time between May 14-16 in Frisco, Texas.
Towson went 7-5 (4-4, CAA) last season, narrowly missing the FCS playoffs. Before the 2020 season was postponed, Towson was set to play against Maryland and crosstown rival Morgan State in the Battle of Greater Baltimore in nonconference play.
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The Tigers returned to the practice field for the first time since the season was postponed Sept. 23.