New FCS affiliations in 2020
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By CRAIG HALEY
(Stats Perform) - The FCS level of Division I college football will have a slightly altered look in 2020 following some changes in school affiliation.
As the conference carousel slows - perhaps only briefly - there will be 127 FCS programs across 13 conferences and independent status.
Following are the 2020 changes:
Dixie State will move up from Division II to join the Western Athletic Conference, but the conference doesn't sponsor football, so the Utah school will play as an FCS independent. The Trailblazers finished 8-3 in coach Paul Peterson's first season last year. Their first D-I game is scheduled for Sept. 5 at Southern Utah.
The Florida university discontinued its football program after the 2019 season, saying it spent more than a year evaluating its athletic department and exploring ways to position itself for long-term growth and success. The Dolphins had the second-lowest attendance average in the Pioneer Football League and the sixth-lowest in the FCS last season.
UND will join the Missouri Valley Football Conference as an 11th member. The last two seasons, the Fighting Hawks finished off scheduling obligations with the Big Sky Conference while competing as an FCS independent. They will play their first MVFC opponent in their third game - Sept. 26 at Youngstown State.
Presbyterian has left the Big South Conference after dropping scholarships and will compete as an FCS independent in 2020 before joining the Pioneer Football League in 2021. At that point, the PFL will return to having 10 teams. The Blue Hose's first game this year will be at Morehead State on Sept. 3.
Tarleton has followed the path of Dixie State, joining the WAC, but playing football as an FCS independent. Under coach Todd Whitten, the Texans went 11-1 and qualified for the Division II playoffs last season. Their first D-I game is at Sam Houston State on Sept. 5.
Updated January 23, 2020