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No football for VMI after SoCon cancellation; Citadel to try and play 4 games

The SoCon canceled its fall sports season, but will allow its members to pursue non-conference play.

VMI v Army Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

The Virginia Military Institute will not play football this fall after the Southern Conference announced Thursday that it will not have fall sports “due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Other fall sports including men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball have also been suspended.

However, the SoCon also said it is allowing its member institutions to pursue non-conference play this fall. And so, The Citadel — the military college of South Carolina — is hoping to play a four game schedule, according to the Post & Courier in Charleston.

“We would like to play four games if we are allowed to,” Citadel AD Mike Capaccio told the P&C. “We don’t have those four figured out yet... We’re seeing what the NCAA will allow.”

One of the games the Citadel is hoping to play is against reigning ACC champs Clemson, a contest that would be a guaranteed payout of $450,000 for the Bulldogs if played.

The Citadel doesn’t have any other non-conference games currently scheduled after Charleston Southern and Elon both canceled their seasons earlier this week. (I know of a Service Academy in West Point that could use a game this season, if the Bulldogs are interested in traveling to New York.)

For VMI, it doesn’t appear that the Keydets will follow the Citadel in pursuing games this fall.

“We support and respect the SoCon decision regarding fall sports,” VMI Athletics Director Dr. Dave Diles said in a statement. “The health and safety of our cadet-athletes and staff is our top priority as we deal with this pandemic. We will focus our efforts to an efficient and orderly transition to spring 2021 competition. There’s not a better school in the country that can prepare our cadet-athletes for adversity and to overcome obstacles and VMI will adapt and put forth a plan that will move us forward.”

VMI was supposed to play non-conference games against Robert Morris, Princeton and Virginia. The Ivy League suspended fall sports weeks ago, scrapping the Princeton game, and Robert Morris canceled fall sports earlier this week.

Virginia will search for a replacement for VMI on its 2020 slate. If the two sides had played, VMI would have earned a guarantee payout of $375,000, according to the Roanoke Times. (Maybe Virginia could call Army or the Citadel?)

The SoCon is the latest conference to suspend fall sports, joining several other FCS leagues, as well as the MAC, Mountain West, Big Ten and Pac-12.