From a normal start date, to a conference-only slate in September, to a conference start in the spring, the path forward for Missouri State fall sports is finally clearing up.
The NCAA has postponed all fall sports championships due to COVID-19.
In correlation, the Missouri Valley Football Conference moved their schedule to the spring 2021 semester for the same reasons. MVFC schools are still allowed to play a three-game non-conference schedule this fall, and Missouri State is the first school to schedule those games.
Football head coach Bobby Petrino’s first game will be at Oklahoma University on Saturday, Sept. 12. This game in Norman is a guarantee game with $600,000 attached to it for MSU.
The other two games are a part of a home-and-home series against Central Arkansas. The away game will be on Saturday, Sept. 16, and the home game will be on Saturday, Oct. 17, which doubles as homecoming.
Petrino said he thinks a concrete schedule will allow his team to focus on practice more. The Bears started practice on Aug. 1, and until Aug. 14, nothing was solidified in terms of fall games.
“Everybody wants to compete,” Petrino said in a press conference on Aug. 14. “They want to be able to know a schedule, how to get prepared and get ready to go out. When we did find out we were playing Oklahoma, everybody was excited.”
Soccer, volleyball and cross country
The other MVC fall sports are all playing their conference schedules in the spring, as well as any potential championships. Non-conference games are still allowed this fall. MSU Director of Athletics Kyle Moats said in a press conference on Aug. 14 he will attempt to schedule a few games for those teams in the fall.
“If we can find games or matches to be able to play — we will try to do that,” Moats said.
The Missouri State Ice Bears were scheduled to begin play on Sept. 29 against Illinois State, but many leagues in the American Collegiate Hockey Association postponed start dates to January. Missouri State and the other members of the Western Collegiate Hockey League opted to do the same.
The ACHA National Tournament, which will take place in Boston this season, has been rescheduled for April to accommodate these changes.
Nothing has been decided yet in terms of winter sports like basketball. The Pac-12 has decided its schools will start winter sports no earlier than Jan. 1 of 2021, but Moats said the MVC has yet to enter discussions about moving the start date of winter sports.