North Dakota, Valparaiso move canceled 2020 football game to 2025

By Kevin Kelley -

In the wake of mass college football game cancellations due to the ongoing novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we have what may be the first rescheduling of one of those contests.

The North Dakota Fighting Hawks were scheduled to open the 2020 season at home against the Valparaiso Crusaders at Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D., on Thursday, Sept. 3. However, the game was canceled after the Pioneer Football League (PFL), of which Valparaiso is a member, announced they will play a conference-only schedule in 2020.

In a release shortly after the PFL’s announcement, North Dakota revealed that they have rescheduled their contest against Valparaiso for Sept. 20, 2025.

“I want to thank Valpo AD, Mark LaBarbara, for his constant communication over the last few months,” said North Dakota Director of Athletics Bill Chaves. “Our initial priority was to try and reschedule this game to a future year, and we were able to do that to 2025. As far as the opening week of this year, we will continue to monitor the ever-changing landscape and if a situation arises that makes sense we will explore it.”

North Dakota, a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), are now scheduled to open the 2020 season with a non-conference game on the road against the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday, Sept. 12.

North Dakota’s only other non-conference game currently scheduled is at the Portland State Vikings on Oct. 24. The Fighting Hawks also have an eight-game MVFC schedule that is, for now, still scheduled to be played.

The MVFC issued a statement this afternoon that they are using a wait-and-see approach.

The Missouri Valley Football Conference Presidents Council has determined patience is warranted regarding any decision to modify the 2020 Fall season, seeing merit in delaying as long as there remains a possibility to provide a safe competitive opportunity for MVFC student-athletes.

The MVFC and its Presidents Council will continue to monitor national developments and, if necessary, will consider additional action as dictated by circumstances.

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