Thu, 24 Sep 2020

NCAA says no to D1 fall sports championships

Field Level Media
14 Aug 2020, 12:40 GMT+10

The NCAA moved Friday to halt almost all NCAA Division I sports championships in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic, in a decision that had one notable exception.

While FCS football -- formerly Division I-AA -- will not hold a playoff, the decision did not apply to FBS, whose season concludes annually with the College Football Playoff Championship Game.

Decisions are ongoing about the FBS season, although the Big Ten and Pac-12 have said they will not play games this fall. NCAA President Mark Emmert said the NCAA does not have oversight of FBS and its bowl games or the playoff. The Mid-American and the Mountain West are the other FBS conferences which have postponed their 2020 football seasons. The ACC, SEC, Big 12, AAC, Conference USA and Sun Belt, currently, still have plans to hold football seasons this fall.

The plan to not contest championships in fall sports stemmed from the Big East's decision this week to postpone its fall sports. That was the tipping point in bringing competing schools under 50 percent.

"We cannot now, at this point, have fall NCAA championships, because there's not enough schools participating," Emmert said. "The Board of Governors also said, 'Look, if you don't have half of the schools playing a sport, you can't have a legitimate championship.'"

Emmert said he hopes seasons in women's cross country, field hockey, FCS football, men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball and men's water polo could be moved to the winter or spring. Fall sports championships in Division II and III already were canceled.

In addition, Emmert said that student-athletes must be given the chance to opt out for COVID-19 reasons if their teams do play. They would remain on scholarship. He also said student-athletes will get another season of eligibility if they take part in less than half of the team's games.

"If we think about what's going on this fall, rather than thinking about it as a canceled or a lost fall, let's instead think of it as a pivot toward winter and spring," Emmert said.

--Field Level Media

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