Photo: Tennessee State Athletics

The last remaining FCS conference to cancel fall sports signaled the official end of HBCU football being played in 2020.

The Ohio Valley Conference announced on Friday that the league will cancel all fall sports. The decision meant that Tennessee State, the lone HBCU program in the OVC, would not be competing, either.

Like many FCS and lower-division conferences, the motivating factor to push fall sports to a later date stemmed from uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential financial fallout as a result of increased testing and safety requirements.

“Today, the Ohio Valley Conference announced that conference competition during the fall semester will be postponed due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said TSU director of athletics Dr. Mikki AD, in a statement. “The OVC’s intent is to move fall sports’ regular-season competition and championships to the spring. Though this is disheartening news for our student-athletes, we respect the conference’s decision as it was made to ensure the health and safety of all student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans.”

The OVC’s decision, however, did not completely close the door on schools pursuing football. The league said schools could play as many as four non-conference games, which would more than likely be against FBS opponents, this fall.

The FCS had already seen their playoffs shelved by the NCAA once the number of conference fall postponements surpassed 50% earlier in the week. But the remaining individual conferences were still exploring the possibility of saving their regular seasons.



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