The NCAA board on Tuesday suspended all important decisions about its Division I case championship in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, and instead pushed “an update” to Wednesday, according to a Twitter statement from NCAA President Mark Emmert.
The board, which consists mainly of university presidents representing all three departments, has the authority to suspend or postpone the NCAA Fall Championships for sports such as football, women’s volleyball and FCS football. This is something the board has been considering for weeks but has recently had more serious discussions about.
“Board member and I today continued our discussion about the NCAA’s ability to continue with our 22 fall championships against the backdrop of the COVID-1
The members of the Football Supervisory Committee have maintained the position that the NCAA Board is waiting longer to make any important decisions about fall championships due to the profound impact it can have on all sports, including at the highest level – in college football. While a possible cancellation of the NCAA Fall Sports Championships does not directly affect the College Football Playoff or FBS college season, decision-makers across the sport are concerned about the deceptive effect the decision would ultimately have on college football in the holidays.
Several FBS conference commissioners and athletic leaders have expressed strong opposition to canceling the championship at this point in the pandemic.
Last Tuesday, Emmert told ESPN that he still hoped the November championships would be played, but if they were canceled, he said it did not mean the regular seasons still could not happen.
“They could play for a conference championship if they could do it safely,” he said. “The determination of our championships would be about being able to gather large groups of students in these environments and make it safe. That is the decision.
“An individual competition – a football match, a basketball game – it’s completely different. When it comes to a bowl game or CFP, you’re talking about a championship game. Can you create a bubble with enough lead time to have two teams play each other safely? The answer to that can “Yes. FCS is a round robin championship with 20 participating teams and a full championship event. It’s a very different and much more challenging environment than adding one or two more games to a season with a lot of space in between.”
Normally, the NCAA Fall Championships include play-in rounds that occur on campus, but the NCAA recently decided to use predetermined locations this year to control the environment and create something like a “bubble” in those locations.
“If we are going to do that, which is what we have to do, we have to move forward with logistics that way in advance,” Emmert said last week. “Right now we have not identified these places. We have to identify them, choose facilities, places to stay, and it must start pretty soon. We have a few weeks, but no longer than that, within which we can make these decisions.”
Emmert also said he admits that when students return to campus, they want to know if they will have a championship to play for.
“Making the decision to shut down March Madness and the Frozen Four and the Spring Championship was awful,” he said. “You turn around and talk to coaches and kids and hear what it meant for them to have a season torn away from them, it’s a horrible thing to do. The first and most important consequences are what it means for the students.”