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NCAA Council approves plan for FCS football championship in spring, playoff field trimmed to 16 teams 

The FCS playoffs will be reduced from 24 teams to 16 teams and played April 18 through May 15, according to a proposal adopted by the NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday. The plan will need to be approved by the Division I Board of Directors next week.

Under the proposal, teams would be allowed to play a maximum of eight regular-season games during a period of 13 weeks leading into the beginning of the playoffs. Teams will be allowed practice and can have up to 12 hours of “countable athletics activity” between Sept. 21 and Dec. 31.

“The intent of the model is to allow maximum flexibility for conferences and schools, with an overarching goal of returning to the normal calendar for the 2021-22 academic year,” read an NCAA statement on the proposal.

Only a handful of FCS programs are playing games this fall after several conferences postponed their seasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the fall cancellation mark reached 50% for FCS teams, NCAA president Mark Emmert asserted there would be no fall championships for NCAA-sponsored postseasons in fall sports. But FCS teams that are playing in the fall will have their fall games considered when the field for the FCS playoffs is determined under the proposal approved by the Division I Council on Wednesday.

One important note for FCS programs that will also apply to any FBS teams playing in the fall is that midyear enrollees will be prohibited from competing in the spring season.

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