(WTAJ) — The NCAA announced on Thursday that they will not hold Division I fall sports championships this year due to lack of school participation, according to NCAA President Mark Emmert.
The announcement will impact Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) football, field hockey, cross country, soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s water polo.
The NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) is not overseen by the NCAA and declares a champion through the College Football Playoff, operating outside of the jurisdiction of the NCAA, so they are not impacted by this decision.
“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.’ So we can’t in any Division I NCAA championship sport, which is everything other than FBS football, that goes on in the fall. Sadly, tragically, that’s going to be the case this fall, full-stop.”
Emmert said that this doesn’t mean that the NCAA can’t turn toward winter and spring and create a legitimate championship for the fall sport student-athletes.
However, Emmert said that the highest priority is for winter and spring sports since they lost their championships earlier this year. He also noted that he is confident a solution for fall sports can be implemented.
In terms of eligibility, if teams are playing, student-athletes must be given the chance to opt-out due to COVID-19 and remain on scholarship. The Division I council recommended to the board of directors that athletes who do suit up this fall receive an extra season of competition eligibility if they participate in less than 50% of the number of competitions.
“The point is to try and preserve eligibility, make sure kids don’t lose scholarships,” Emmert said.