Even though the Colonial Athletic Association has suspended all football competition in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, James Madison is still going to try to play football.
The Dukes announced on Friday that the school will continue to explore options for the football program with regard to health and public safety. The school will also make similar decisions on other fall sports that are still scheduled to have seasons.
As long as the NCAA intends on holding championship events in the fall, James Madison will be on the field.
"While other institutions are facing different timelines and circumstances in making decisions, we are striving to get as much information as possible about the national landscape and public health considerations before making final determinations," JMU athletic director Jeff Bourne said in a statement. "We believe that we have a responsibility to explore all of the possible options at this point in time. As of now, the FCS Championship schedule has not been changed."
The CAA will allow all 12 of its football institutions to pursue an independent schedule for the season without penalty. The conference is also investigating the possibilities of hosting a spring football season in 2021.
However, without the league hosting a conference season, the Dukes have at least eight open contests available of their potential 11-12 game schedule. Some of those games could be against regular CAA foes, but that will be determined over the next several weeks.
New Hampshire, Towson, Delaware and William & Mary have also announced that they have suspended football this fall.
Villanova is at least one other CAA program that has stated it is still weighing its options on hosting a season.
James Madison is the most prominent football school in the CAA. The team won the 2016 FCS Championship and has made the National Championship Game three of the past four seasons. Regularly, the Dukes schedule against top-tier FBS opposition as was to be the case this year with a matchup at North Carolina in Chapel Hill
If schools are permitted to have an out-of-conference schedule this year there will be several looking to build their schedules. The Big Ten and Pac 12 have already determined they will only play within the conference and other Power 5s could follow suit. It does open the door, if there is a football season, for JMU to fill out their schedule.
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