All NCAA Division I fall sports championships have been canceled with the exception of FBS football, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced Thursday. The decision does not impact FBS football because that championship is operated independently from the NCAA governing body.
“Tragically, that’s going to be the case this fall, full stop,” said Emmert in a video released by the NCAA.
Emmert’s announcement formalized a default outcome as a result of earlier requirements set for divisions that wished to carry out fall sports championships. No championship would be conducted in a given division if more than 50% of schools in a sport had canceled their season, according to the NCAA’s requirements.
An influx of Division I cancellations have taken place over the last few days, dropping the number of schools that would be participating in every fall sports besides FBS football below 50%. Some conferences, like the Ivy League and Big West, postponed their seasons before the NCAA announced these requirements, while others, like the Big East and West Coast Conferences, only announced their decisions in the last few days.
The Presidents Councils for Divisions II and III promptly canceled their fall championships last week after the NCAA announced decisions regarding fall sports would be left to divisions.
Emmert emphasized he hoped to find a way for fall championships to take place in the spring. He posited that the tournaments may be shorter and brackets smaller, and even floated the idea of “bubbles or semi-bubble models.” “Will it be normal? Of course not,” Emmert said. “Will it create other conflicts and challenges? Of course. But is it doable? Yeah.”
Emmert also noted that the governing body must give “highest priority” to winter and spring sports because their championships, like March Madness, were canceled last spring.
Meanwhile, the FBS football season continues despite the fact that the Mid-American, Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences, as well as some independent FBS programs like UConn, have all postponed their football seasons.
Carlos Del Rio, a medical advisor for the NCAA, told reporters on a video conference Thursday that continuing with fall sports felt like sailing on the Titanic. “We have hit the iceberg, and we’re trying to make decisions of what time should we have the band play.”