It’s been over 400 days since Holy Cross stepped off the field in West Long Branch, New Jersey, in the first round of the FCS Playoffs. That game, a 44-27 loss to Monmouth University of the Big South, was the last football game contested by a Patriot League school.
Today, the Patriot League was the final FCS football conference to unveil their spring competition schedule to the public, as a part of their release announcing the schedules of twenty-two different sports being contested in the spring.
“It is great to be planning football again,” Colgate head coach Dan Hunt told me. “We are excited to give our team a chance to compete this year. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be without hiccups or challenges. Those are the cost of admission, and our guys gladly will pay them in order to play the game they love. We need to be appreciative to all of the people who have done and are going to do a lot of work to make this happen.”
All football games, including the 156th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Fisher Field in Easton, PA, “continue to evaluate the attendance of spectators at its outdoor competitions,” the Patriot League mentioned in their press release. The only decision on home games made definitively so far is at Holy Cross, where their release states “To start the 2021 spring campaign, all games at Fitton Field will be played without fans in attendance. The situation will continue to be evaluated based on state, league and institutional policies as the season progresses.”
“This morning’s announcement by the Patriot League is exciting for a number of reasons,” Bucknell head coach Dave Cecchini told me. “Every student-athlete at the division one level pours their heart and soul into their respective sport. To have that opportunity to compete at that sport taken away from you can be devastating, particularly if you are a senior who is in his or her final season of eligibility. Throughout the past ten months our football team has worked tirelessly through incredible adversity just on the hope that they would have a chance to compete for a championship. The opportunity to finally be able to play a football season this spring is a just reward for all of the commitment, investment, and trust that each player has given to this endeavor.”
The Patriot League elected to split into divisions for the spring 2021 season, with Holy Cross, Colgate and Fordham in the North division, and Bucknell, Lafayette and Lehigh in the South division. Each division will play two divisional games and two games against teams from the opposite division. April 10th will be a make-up weekend in the event of any COVID-related cancellations.
April 17th will feature the first-ever Patriot League Championship Game at a site to be determined. Standard league-wide tiebreaker procedures will be applied between the two division winners to determine who gets home field.
Holy Cross will begin their title defense in Bethlehem, PA on March 13th when they travel to Lehigh to open the 2021 Spring season. Potential fan attendance at this and other Lehigh games are still TBD.
“The team and staff are very excited that we will get to compete this spring,” Lehigh head coach Tom Gilmore told me. “We are anxious to finally play again and we are looking forward to the opportunity to prepare for those games now after such a long time away from the field.”
(Schedules for Patriot League baseball, field hockey, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball and volleyball are available by visiting the composite schedule on Patriot League’s official website – www.PatriotLeague.org. Championship and challenge information for men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, women’s rowing, men’s and women’s swimming and diving and men’s and women’s tennis is also available on the League’s composite schedule.)
Spring 2021 Patriot League Composite Schedule (* indicates divisional play)
Holy Cross at Lehigh
Fordham at Bucknell
Colgate at Lafayette
Lehigh at Colgate
*Lafayette at Bucknell
*Fordham at Holy Cross
*Bucknell at Lehigh
Lafayette at Fordham
*Holy Cross at Colgate
*Lehigh at Lafayette (156th meeting of The Rivalry)
Bucknell at Holy Cross
*Colgate at Fordham
Make-up games (if required)
Patriot League Championship Game (North Division Winner vs. South Division Winner; Site TBD)
Chuck has been writing about Lehigh football since the dawn of the internet, or perhaps it only seems like it. He’s executive editor of the College Sports Journal and has also written a book, The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series.
Reach him at: this email or click below: