NCAA cancels its 2020 fall championships
NCAA president Mark Emmert has made a decision with the NCAA Division I Board of Governors to cancel the 2020 NCAA fall championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sports at Central Michigan affected by the decision are volleyball, field hockey, men's and women's cross country and soccer.
"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 and Division I NCAA championship sport, which is everything other than (Football Bowl Subdivision) football, that goes on in the fall. Sadly, tragically, that's going to be the case this fall, full-stop."
While the decision does not affect the FBS, the Mid-American Conference was the first FBS conference to cancel its fall season with hopes to play in the spring. Other conferences -- Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mountain West namely -- joined the MAC. The ACC, SEC, Big 12, American Athletic Conference, Conference USA and Sun Belt all announced intentions to move forward with fall sports.
Emmert said his highest priority, at this point, is the winter and spring sports, which lost their championships in March. Emmert said he also concerned about the mental health of the student-athletes.
"The last thing you want to do is gloss over mental health issues," Emmert said. "I worry profoundly about this. Sports is at the center of these young men's and women's lives. We want them to continue to be. If we think about what's going on this fall, rather than thinking about as a canceled or lost fall, lets' instead think of it as a pivot toward winter and spring."
In terms of eligibility, Emmert said that if teams are playing, they should have the opportunity to opt-out of the season and remain on scholarship. The Division I Council recommended student-athletes that play this fall should get an extra season of eligibility if they participate in 50 percent or less of the number of competitions.
"The point is to try and preserve eligibility, make sure kids don't lose scholarships," Emmert said.
While the championships are canceled, conferences can still elect to play in the spring, however, they would not play for a national championship.