First fall without UD football since 1945 as PFL cancels season

The University of Dayton football team will be limited to the practice field this fall, as the Pioneer Football League announced the cancellation of conference competition this fall. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett
Sports Editor

For the first time since 1945, fall football will not be played at the University of Dayton as the Pioneer Football League announced Friday morning they would not conduct conference competition in fall 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PFL’s Presidents Council cited the widespread nature of the conference, with teams in San Diego, Calif. and Jacksonville, Florida, and the challenges related to team travel.

Other factors included the “difficulties meeting applicable state, state and institutional health requirements and COVID-19 mitigation strategies.”

The press release did not state whether the PFL plans on conducting a season in the spring, but it did state, “Recognizing competition is an integral part of the student-athlete’s educational experience, the PFL is committed to exploring meaningful opportunities and experiences for football student-athletes this academic year, if this can be done reasonably and safely.”

To provide more context to the release, James M. Danko, President of Butler University and Chair of the PFL provided his observations.

“The Presidents and Athletic Directors of our respective universities made this very difficult decision after extensive deliberations and consideration of many factors,” Danko said. “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.”

The PFL joins the Big Sky Conference, Ivy League, Colonial Athletic Association, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Northeast Conference and Patriot League to cancel their fall seasons.

UD football will still practice and train this fall, according to the release, and will follow “local and campus health guidelines and NCAA practice protocols.”

In 1945, the last of three consecutive seasons to be cancelled due to World War II, the Flyers still practiced as well.

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