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Another level of college football won't have 2020 playoffs as sport inches closer to total fall shutdown

More schools opt out as the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) won't have any postseason play.
Image: 2020 NCAA Division I Football Championship
Percy Agyei-Obese #31 of the James Madison Dukes rushes against the North Dakota State Bison during the Division I FCS Football Championship held at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Jan. 11, 2020.Justin Tafoya / NCAA Photos via Getty Images file

The NCAA's second-highest level of football won't crown a 2020 champion as more schools announced Friday they wouldn't take the gridiron this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Universities comprising the Missouri Valley Football Conference, Big Sky Conference and Pioneer Football League all said they won't play this fall, which effectively pulled the plug on postseason play for the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

As FCS teams and conferences pulled out of fall play in recent weeks, the NCAA announced that FCS playoffs would be cancelled if 50 percent of eligible teams pulled out. When the MVFC, Big Sky and Pioneer all opted out of autumn football, that minimum threshold was breached.

Before Friday, a host of other FCS leagues had called off fall football: the Ivy League, Patriot League, Colonial Athletic Association, Northeast Conference, Southwestern Athletic Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

The 2019 FCS title was won by North Dakota State University, which edged James Madison University in the final.

Lower levels of NCAA football, Division II and Division III, also had playoffs cancelled this week.

The highest level of college football, the Football Bowl Subdivision, has its postseason play run by an independent body, the College Football Playoff (CFP).

The CFP, for now at least, is planning to hold its annual four-team competition, but moved the date to pick that field from Dec. 6 to Dec. 20, in anticipation of delays in finishing the college football season - assuming the sport is played at all this fall.