The Football Championship Branch gave it the old college go this spring, attempting to improvise a short season with a truncated playoff in the name of giving athletes a chance to compete (and in a handful of cases, including Dakota state North, trying to make a few dollars).
It does not work. The season is turning into a hodgepodge of postponements and cancellations. And in the case of the State of Illinois, ending the season completely.
So cancel the FCS season, regroup again, and prepare for next fall, when the vaccines have set in and the pandemic is mostly reflected in the rearview mirror.
Should the remainder of the FCS soccer spring season be canceled?
NDSU and South Dakota canceled their game at the DakotaDome on Saturday due to COVID-19 issues on the Bison show. He won’t bounce back because the Coyotes already had a game against Western Illinois postponed and their open date is full of Leathernecks.
What seemed like a good idea at the time – giving athletes and teams the hope of playing a football season after the fall schedule was mostly postponed – is getting more complicated the longer spring goes on.
The NCAA could solve this problem with a press release. All I would have to say is that the FCS playoffs and the national championship game are canceled due to pandemic concerns. Fagot. Each FCS program would end its season the next day, if not the same day.
It is a simple solution. If there weren’t a title and a trophy at stake, there would be little reason to play. Especially for top teams like NDSU, James Madison, and South Dakota State.
You might think the call to end the season is boosted because the pandemic has gripped the NDSU. You would be wrong. I am aware that I am skeptical of the spring season and have already said that an unofficial asterisk will be attached to it.
It is true that canceling the season seems not to be a popular sight.
Bison’s athletic director Matt Larsen said he is in favor of continuing.
“In total, many more games are played than are not played,” he said.
I asked USD coach Bob Nielson on Saturday if he thinks the season should be canned. He didn’t say “yes,” but he didn’t exactly say “no.”
“There have been some wonderful things about playing in the spring. I think our league has really done a good job through this week and now we have two games that were postponed this week,” Nielson said. “We all go into this with the idea that you want to give your guys a chance to play soccer, (but) you also want to make sure you don’t impact fall 2021 because I’m very optimistic about fall 2021. It’s going to be normal “.
Coyotes Athletic Director David Herbster was much stronger in his support for continuing the season, recognizing that he could change his mind quickly.
“I still think it’s time to play,” Herbster said. “We’re going to have these bumps and these challenges. At FCS, what is the percentage of games that have been canceled? I think we’re still in a position where we have to try.”
What Herbster said next, however, is the biggest “but” of his position.
“Things that happen like today, you really reflect and say, ‘What are we doing? Why are we doing this?’ My tune could change in a week or two because not only are we dealing with COVID, but there will also be injuries. You can have a whole group of position quickly decimated, “he said.
One of the problems of football is the machismo that it entails. The best shows will never say they want to stop the season. That would be considered weak and used as a hammer against them in recruiting. It happened when the state of Illinois decided to go offline last week. There was a lot of backlash on social media against the Redbirds and head coach Brock Spack, including within the Missouri Valley Soccer Conference.
I’ve always said that if you injected truth serum into FCS coaches, most would say they don’t want to play the spring season. I think if you injected them with the same serum in their arms right now, most would agree to end the season and focus on the fall.
But with the NCAA unwilling to cancel the playoffs, the programs and their coaches are trapped. They have to move on, even if they are ashamed to do so.
Do the right thing, NCAA. Pull the plug. It’s time to end the FCS spring season.