Dayton opts out of 2021 Pioneer Football League spring season

Rick Chamberlin talks to the Dayton football team at a scrimmage on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, at Welcome Stadium. Photo courtesy of UD
Rick Chamberlin talks to the Dayton football team at a scrimmage on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, at Welcome Stadium. Photo courtesy of UD

The Dayton Flyers will not participate in the 2021 Pioneer Football Football spring season, UD announced Wednesday. It’s the first school in the league to opt out of the spring season.

The league cancelled the fall season in August and announced in November it would try to play in the spring.

“Our AD Neil Sullivan and I considered a myriad of complex COVID-related factors that influenced our decision to focus on the fall of 2021,” Dayton coach Rick Chamberlin said. “First and foremost was the physiological demands of football and the experience of our student-athletes. In total and together, we felt this was the best decision for our football program. We look forward to quality winter and spring development programs and we are excited about the fall 2021 season.”

According to a press release, “Dayton plans to engage in a traditional spring football offseason and focus its preparation on fall 2021. Dayton is a proud founding member of the PFL and wishes its fellow league members the best of luck in moving forward in 2021.”

Dayton completed a fall practice season in November. At that time, Chamberlin said the team would have to walk a narrow path to pull of a season in the spring, including undergoing approximately 450 COVID-19 tests per week. Practice would have began in February.

“The first step was having fall ball,” Chamberlin said in November. “Now you’ve got to talk about the status of the virus at that point when we get close to (the season): here in Dayton, the state and what it’s like across the country. (The league) is spread all over. Also the physical readiness of our players will be a factor. Conditioning and getting in shape will be difficult. You’ve got travel issues you’ve got to work out and the logistics of testing.”

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