The NCAA Board of Governors is allowing each division of the association to decide independently whether it will be able to conduct championship events safely in fall sports such as soccer, volleyball and lower levels of football during the coronavirus pandemic.
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The board had been considering what to do about fall championship events sponsored by the NCAA, but instead of making a broad decision across three divisions, it set parameters for each to make its own call by Aug. 21.
According to the board's decision, at least 50 percent of teams competing in a fall sport in any division must conduct a regular season this fall for a championship to be held. Championships may use reduced fields of teams or competitors in individual sports.
The NCAA said all NCAA student-athletes must be "provided an opportunity to opt out of participation due to concerns about contracting COVID-19," and if they do, their scholarship commitment must be honored.
Following the announcement, the Division III Presidents Council canceled fall championships.
"Looking at the health and safety challenges we face this fall during this unprecedented time, we had to make this tough decision to cancel championships for fall sports this academic year in the best interest of our student-athlete and member institutions," said Tori Murden McClure, chair of the Presidents Council and president at Spalding. "Our Championships Committee reviewed the financial and logistical ramifications if Division III fall sports championships were conducted in the spring and found it was logistically untenable and financially prohibitive. Our Management Council reached the same conclusion. Moving forward, we will try to maximize the championships experience for our winter and spring sport student-athletes, who unfortunately were short-changed last academic year."
NCAA to allow each division to determine whether it will conduct championship events in the fall