The NCAA Division III Championship Committee has recommended that the number of participants at winter and spring championships be limited to 75% of their usual capacity due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The recommendation will be presented to several groups within the Division III governance structure, such as the winter and spring sports committees, before the Management and Presidents Councils make a final decision in October.
The committee’s chair and athletic director at Roger Williams, Kiki Jacobs released a statement, saying, “This decision was not made lightly. We concluded this was the best way to provide high-quality championship experiences for student-athletes. Given the obligations to prepare sites and follow the required health protocols, the committee had to make the tough decision to recommend fewer opportunities this year.”
If the capacity limit is implemented, the number of swimmers and divers invited to compete at NCAAs will significantly decrease. Last season, 579 athletes (526 swimmers and 53 divers) qualified to compete at the national championships prior to their cancellation. This included 319 women’s invitees and 260 men’s invitees.
In order to qualify for NCAAs, a swimmer must achieve either an NCAA A-cut or a B-cut, and fall within the invite line. Any swimmer already invited to participate in the meet may also swim any events in which they have achieved an NCAA B-cut. Last season, most women’s events had the invite line fall just outside the top 24, while it fell around the top 16 in the men’s events.
At 75% capacity, presuming the cuts are equally leveled across swimming & diving, the number of qualified athletes last season would have been reduced to 434 athletes (395 swimmers and 39 divers). That would amount to 239 women and 195 men.
The 2020 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championship was canceled because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.