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Sprint football does not fall under the same divisional structure as Penn's other varsity teams. Credit: Izzy Crawford-Eng

Over a week after the Ivy League’s decision on fall sports, the Collegiate Sprint Football League has decided to make a similar one. 

The CSFL announced that it will not have a fall 2020 season due to safety concerns regarding the coronavirus. The decision was made after lengthy conversations among CSFL stakeholders and a vote by the 10 member institutions. 

"While we would very much like to be playing this fall, the CSFL believes this is the best decision for the safety and welfare of our student-athletes,” CSFL Commissioner Dan Mara said. 

Unlike the rest of the varsity sports at Penn, sprint football could have potentially had a season this fall because it does not fall under the same divisional structure as the other teams.

There is optimism that a season could be played in the spring, but no details are official yet.  

“Conversations will be ongoing in regards to the structure of a spring season, and how coaches and student-athletes can engage through conditioning and practices during the fall months,” Mara said. “Once decisions have been made on those items, and other topics, the CSFL will make an announcement so that all parties can plan accordingly."

Army and Navy will still have the opportunity to play each other this fall as allowed by the superintendents of those schools. The schools have reportedly discussed a home-and-home series for October, with the first game being an exhibition.

Sprint football has all of the same rules as regular NCAA football, except that players must weigh no more than 178 pounds. Most Ivy League schools sponsored a team at one point, but now only Penn and Cornell remain. The teams are boosted by alumni who support them financially as well as in the stands. 

Notable Penn alumni who played sprint football include Penn Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Eric Furda and former Penn basketball coach and NBA executive Jack McCloskey. Sprint football alumni from other schools include President Jimmy Carter, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. 

This season was set to be an interesting one for the Quakers, as longtime offensive coordinator Jerry McConnell was set to take over the reigns from coach Bill Wagner, who had led the team for 50 years before retiring last fall

Additionally, the team would have been without quarterback Eddie Jenkins, who was the 2019 CSFL MVP and graduated after a remarkable career in the Red and Blue. 

Penn’s enthusiastic sprint football alumni base will have to wait a little longer than expected to see its team in action. 

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