Brian Hardin

The Pioneer Football League’s Presidents Council announced that it’s league’s schools will not conduct conference competition in fall 2020. The PFL membership is spread from coast-to-coast and throughout the Midwest which poses challenges related to team travel, as well as difficulties meeting applicable state, local and institutional health requirements and COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

“Last night, I met with our football team and informed them that they would not be competing this fall,” Drake athletics director Brian Hardin said. “The idea of not having Drake football play games over the next few months is disappointing on many levels. I feel terrible for our student-athletes, coaches, and staff in our football program. But my heart really goes out to our fifth-year senior student-athletes who made the decision to return for one final season and now, through no fault of their own, will not have the opportunity to play this fall. However, given the unique complexities presented by playing football in eight states across three time zones, as is the case with the PFL, this decision is in the best interest of the health and well being of PFL student-athletes.”

James M. Danko, President of Butler University and Chair of the PFL Council, shared the following observations. “The Presidents and Athletic Directors of our respective universities made this very difficult decision after extensive deliberations and consideration of many factors. We recognize that our student-athletes will be disappointed, but our highest priority is the health and safety of all those involved in our athletic programs. Ultimately, the risks of proceeding are simply too high especially to ensure the safety of our students.”

Recognizing competition is an integral part of the student-athlete’s educational experience, Drake and the PFL are committed to exploring meaningful opportunities and experiences for football student-athletes this academic year, if this can be done reasonably and safely.