Dayton Flyers, Pioneer Football league latest to announce there will be no fall football

The Pioneer Football League announced Friday it will not conduct competition in the fall of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A press release explained the decision but did not mention the possibility of playing football in the spring or rule it out.

“The PFL membership is spread from coast-to-coast and throughout the Midwest,” the press release read, “which poses challenges related to team travel, as well as difficulties meeting applicable state, local and institutional health requirements and COVID-19 mitigation strategies.”

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The announcement means there will be no football in the fall for the Dayton Flyers for the first time since 1945. Three seasons were cancelled because of World War II.

“The Presidents and Athletic Directors of our respective universities made this very difficult decision after extensive deliberations and consideration of many factors,” said James M. Danko, president of Butler University and chair of the PFL, in a statement. “We recognize that our student-athletes will be disappointed, but our highest priority is the health and safety of all those involved in our athletic programs. Ultimately, the risks of proceeding are simply too high especially to ensure the safety of our students.”

Dayton announced the cancellation of its season opener in June, and then the PFL cancelled all non-conference play in July.

The PFL is the latest Football Championship Subdivision conference to cancel the fall season. It joins the Big Sky Conference, Ivy League, Colonial Athletic Association, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Northeast Conference and Patriot League. The Southwestern Athletic Conference moved football season to the spring.

The cancellations likely mean there will be no FCS football playoffs this fall. The NCAA announced this week if 50 percent of eligible teams in a sport cancel their fall seasons, there will be no fall NCAA championship in that sport.

According a press release, “The Flyer football team, as is the case with the rest of UD’s sports programs, will train and practice this fall, pursuant to local and campus health guidelines and NCAA practice protocols.”

The rest of UD’s fall sports teams had their seasons postponed in July when the Atlantic 10 Conference made its decision.

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