The Pioneer Football League (PFL) announced plans for a six-game conference season via a press release. Marist, along with the ten other members of the PFL, will play a six-week schedule, with games being played each Saturday from March 13 to April 17 in 2021. The conference canceled its typical fall season in August.
The league champion will earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoff. This year only 16 teams will compete in the tournament instead of the usual 24. The championship game is scheduled for the weekend of May 15.
The schedule model was put forth by the league’s athletic departments and coaches and approved by the PFL Presidents Council. The league’s teams have the choice to schedule non-league games, but they would likely have to happen before the start of the conference competition. The PFL will release the league schedule at a later date.
The Marist Athletic Department released a statement about the PFL’s plan going forward. “Marist College and the Pioneer Football League recognize that the plan for spring football is aspirational based on the state of the coronavirus pandemic, the unknowns that lie ahead in the upcoming months, the geographic diversity that exists within the league, and the circumstances at the league’s institutions,” the statement reads.
“Individual institutions may, at their sole discretion, choose to opt out of the 2021 spring season at any time. Any decision made by Marist College will be in the best interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes and the broader Marist community. We will continue to monitor coronavirus developments locally and nationally, and will adapt to any circumstances presented.”
The Red Foxes went 4-7 overall and 4-4 in the PFL last season. Marist is 45-43 in conference play since joining the league in 2009.
Edited by Sam DiGiovanni