The NCAA has begun to explore options for holding its fall championships in the wake of COVID-19. The organization, which governs most collegiate athletics across 3 divisions, is hopeful that they will be able to hold them after having to cancel all winter and spring championships due to the virus.
As highlighted on the NCAA social series, discussions are currently occurring between senior members of NCAA staff and the COVID-19 Advisory Panel “centered on ways to protect the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and spectators”.
In the press release, the organization also states that “At the foundation of the talks is maintaining fair and equitable selection protocol and retaining the same formats under the same timelines and at the same previously determined sites.”
However, due to a predicted spike in the virus during the months of November and December, the NCAA is also looking to push up fall tournament dates to avoid any possible conflicts. One scenario that they are looking into is pushing all championships up to the week of Thanksgiving (November 22-28).
This coincides with plans by many institutions to conclude their fall academic semesters before Thanksgiving an attempt to minimize the number of mass migrations back-and-forth between campus and home for students.
The plan is also contingent on the availability of testing for coronavirus. The organization is currently looking into a viral antigen test that is in development, which if improved, could provide accurate results in about 10 minutes.
Currently, across all divisions, there are 22 championships that occur during the fall season including:
- Soccer (Men’s and women’s)
- Volleyball (women’s only)
- Field Hockey (women’s only)
- Cross country (men’s and women’s)
- Waterpolo (men’s only)
2020-2021 Division I championship finals schedule for fall sports:
- Football – FBS – Jan. 11, Miami Gardens, FL
- Football – FCS – Jan. 9, TBD
- Field Hockey – Nov. 20-22, Norfolk, VA
- Men’s and Women’s Cross Country – Nov. 21, Stillwater, OK
- Women’s Soccer – Dec. 4-6, Cary, NC
- Men’s Water Polo – Dec. 5-6, Stanford, CA
- Men’s Soccer – Dec. 11-13, Santa Barbara, CA
- Women’s Volleyball – Dec. 17-19, Omaha, NE
This news comes as the NCAA Division 1 council recently voted to allow football and basketball players to participate in voluntary activities in on campus facilities beginning on June 1st. They also voted to allow voluntary activities to begin across all sports on June 1st.
Video of the NCAA Social Series: