Southland postpones season, allows non-conference fall games

The Southland Conference postponed fall sports to the spring on Thursday but left it up to individual members to play non-conference games this fall.

Football, volleyball, women’s soccer and cross country are the sports affected by the decision, prompted by health and safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

“After thoughtful consideration, the Southland Conference Board of Directors reached consensus in postponing league competition for our fall semester sports,” Central Arkansas president Houston Davis, the board chairman, said in a statement. “Protecting competitive opportunities in a safe manner for our student-athletes was paramount in the review, and a delay to the spring allows campuses and athletic departments to get a better handle on issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Some of the Southland’s 13 members, who compete at the FCS level in football, said they planned to move ahead with limited schedules this fall.

Central Arkansas athletic director Brad Teague told ESPN the Bears intend to play their scheduled Aug. 29 opener against Austin Peay.

Houston Baptist said it will honor existing contracts for non-conference games against North Texas, Texas Tech and Louisiana Tech.

The other members of the Southland are Abilene Christian, University of the Incarnate Word, Lamar, McNeese, New Orleans, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.