The NCAA said in a statement on Thursday that they expect to conduct NCAA Division I fall championship events as scheduled. This comes among uncertainty levied upon the upcoming collegiate academic and athletic seasons amid the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
“The Competition Oversight Committee’s overarching and primary goal is to remain nimble to react to a fluid and unpredictable environment in ways that protect the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and spectators,” said Lynda Tealer from the University of Florida, the NCAA’s Competition Oversight Committee chair. “The committee intends to conduct Division I fall championship events as scheduled. To the best of our ability we are committed to fair and equitable selection protocol, retaining the same formats, under the same timelines, and at the same previously determined sites. Should we need to adjust our planning, we will communicate those details to the membership.”
The declaration came on the same day, May 14, that the California State University system, announced that it was moving most of its instruction online for the fall 2020 semester. The University of California system has not finalized their decision, but a spokesman said that they too are unlikely to fully reopen this fall.
The NCAA has previously said that schools would not be allowed to participate in NCAA athletics if their campuses weren’t open, though, since the CSU announcement, it’s not clear what teeth that will ultimately carry.
While the swimming & diving championships for Division I (and all 3 divisions) aren’t scheduled until the spring, the men’s water polo championship could be impacted. The 2020 championships are scheduled to be held at Stanford’s Avery Aquatic Center in California in December. If the schools in the California State University and University of California systems weren’t able to participate in the college water polo season, it would dramatically shift the landscape in the sport. That would include UC Davis, which were national quarterfinalist last season.
Other sports with scheduled NCAA championship events for the fall semester of 2020 include women’s field hockey (Norfolk, Virginia), men’s and women’s cross country (Stillwater, Oklahoma), men’s soccer (Santa Barbara, California), women’s soccer (Cary, North Carolina), and women’s volleyball (Omaha, Nebraska).