College football on empty field
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL and Power 5 conferences determine the fate of fall sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Junior College Athletic Association could soon end its upcoming football season.

JuCo football season expected to move to spring 2021 due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is leading to dramatic and widespread changes to football season. The Ivy League canceled its fall sports and Texas is expected to suspend high school football for the remainder of the year. Now, the fate of football at the junior college level could be imminent.

According to The Athletic’s Max Olson, the National Junior College Athletic Association is expected to announce Monday that will move football season to the spring. The decision comes after NJCAA president and CEO sided with the NJCAA’s presidential advisory council in their recent recommendation to move fall sports to next spring.

Multiple junior college coaches expect a vote confirming that the NJCAA will use an eight-game schedule, with practices beginning on March 1 and the regular season taking place from the end of March through the end of May.

The NJAAA comprises 512 programs spread across 54 states, with 54 schools having football teams. While the decision won’t impact California, the California Community College Athletic Association revealed Thursday it intends to move its fall sports to spring 2021.

While the move will create some challenges in recruiting JuCo prospects for FBS programs, as Olson details, it will create a unique change. Any players who aren’t typically fully qualified coming out of high school, would now have three seasons of eligibility to paly instead of two.

For some of the top JuCo recruits in the 2020 class, this could lead to them transferring before the junior college football season begins. Of course, there is still great uncertainty about whether or not FBS schools will be playing football this fall.

Will there be college football this fall?

As the NJCAA prepares to make its decision official for football at the junior college level, FBS conferences are still doing what they can to play college football in a few months. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is putting that in jeopardy.

While final decisions on playing this fall haven’t yet been made, many Power 5 conferences have already made some changes or hinted at what lies ahead.

  • SEC – Commissioner Greg Sankey is very concerned for the chances of football this season and the conference could make a ruling by the end of July.
  • The Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences will use conference-only schedules for the upcoming football season.
  • The ACC and Big 12 are expected to make their decisions at the end of the month.

A majority of FBS athletic directors expect the 2020 college football season to be delayed, with more momentum building towards a move to the spring.