The 2021 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships have been cancelled, the NCAA announced on Wednesday after a meeting of hte Division III Administration Committee.
The committee also announced the cancelation of post-season competition in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, men’s and women’s ice hockey, and men’s and women’s wrestling.
In making the decision, the Committee did not point to an inability to host a championship event safely; rather, they pointed to the lack of participation in winter season sports by D3 membership as the key factor in their decision.
The NCAA established thresholds of minimum teams competing at 60% of teams competing in basketball, swimming and diving, and track and field to host championship events, with a 70% threshold in hockey and wrestling.
Among the impacted sports, men’s and women’s swimming had the lowest percentage of programs committing to compete this season. Wrestling had the highest at 61.8%.
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“Today, we made the difficult decision to cancel our Division III winter championships. While some institutions have been able to safely return to sport, the recent declaration form data show that more than half of our division has not returned to winter sport practice and competition to be in a position for NCAA national championship participation,” said Fayneese Miller, chair of the Presidents Council and president at Hamline. “This was a very difficult decision to make, and we are saddened to do so. However, none of our winter sports meet the Championships Committee’s established thresholds of participation to hold a championship. We are committed to ensuring that our student-athletes have the best possible experience, and, for us, this means having a meaningful number of competitions. We hope this is possible for our spring championship.”
Earlier in the day, the NAIA also announced that they were canceling their swimming & diving championship meets this season. NCAA Division II and Division I have not made any announcements about the future of their championship meets.
This marks the second straight season that the meet won’t take place after the 2020 edition was called off less than a week out from the competition when the coronavirus pandemic first hit the United States.
The competition was scheduled to take place March 17-20 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash., hosted by Pacific Lutheran University, in what was going to be the first time that the championships took place on the West Coast since its inception in 1975.
The Division III Committee had confirmed multiple format changes to the meet back in October in light of the pandemic, including reducing the meet capacity down to 75% of its usual numbers (allowing 239 women and 195 men to compete) and pushing back the selection announcement date to March 10. In August, the committee cancelled all championships for fall sports.
In what has been a very trying 10 months for collegiate programs around the country, several top-tier D3 swimming & diving teams opted out of competing during the 2020-21 season, though at least one, Denison, recently announced a competition schedule.
The 2021 Pac-12 Swimming & Diving Championships were also scheduled to take place in Federal Way, but have since been moved to Houston.