CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa’s spring football season has finally come into focus.
When the Missouri Valley Football Conference announced the postponement of its fall season to the spring on Aug. 7 it did so without a spring start date or any knowledge of how the NCAA would reconcile moving the 24-team FCS Playoffs into 2021.
Tuesday the FCS’ spring season began to feel real when the NCAA Division I board of directors voted for a trimmed down 16-team FCS playoffs that will begin April 24. The FCS championship game will return to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, and be played sometime between May 14-16.
Along with reducing the playoff field, the board of directors voted to allot one automatic bid to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion, leaving only five at-large bids for its spring playoff.
The MVFC moved quickly after the board of directors vote and has kept its original eight-game conference schedules intact — only adjusting the order of games to mitigate against early season outdoor games.
Week 1 is scheduled for Feb. 20. The last week of the regular season is April 10. Playoff pairings will be announced on April 18.
UNI football schedule
Feb. 20 — Illinois State
Feb. 27 — at South Dakota
March 6 — Missouri State
March 13 — at Western Illinois
March 20 — at Southern Illinois
March 27 — at Youngstown State
April 3 — Bye
April 10 — North Dakota State
April 17 — South Dakota State
No kickoff times have been announced and decisions on fan attendance will be decided before the season by each university dependent on local and state guidelines.