NCAA sets late August deadline for fall sports decision

NCAA says they will decide whether fall sports and championships will happen this year by Aug. 21st.

Wednesday, the NCAA Board of Governors released a press release, directing  schools and conferences to meet specific requirements in order to conduct NCAA fall sports during the preseason, regular season and postseason. Each division is also directed to determine its ability to meet said requirements for fall championships.

NCAA Board of Governors directs each division to safeguard student-athlete well-being, scholarships and eligibility:

— NCAA (@NCAA) August 5, 2020

The board expressed serious concerns about the continuing high levels of COVID-19 infection in many parts of the nation. They will only support moving forward with fall championships and other postseason play if strict conditions are applied and adhered to.

Here are some of the requirements:

  • All fall sports activity must follow the recently released return-to-sport guidelines from the NCAA Sport Science Institute, including any future modifications.
  • A phone number and email will be established to report alleged failures. The NCAA will notify administrators, who will be expected to take immediate action.
  • All student-athletes must be allowed to opt-out of participation due to COVID-19 concerns. If they so chose, their athletics scholarship must be honored by the college or university.
  • By Aug. 14, divisions must determine the eligibility accommodations for student-athletes who opt-out of the season or those whose seasons are canceled or cut short due to COVID-19. College athletes and families must know what their eligibility status before beginning the fall season.
  • Any NCAA fall championship or other postseason contests must be conducted within enhanced safety protocols; including regular testing, separation of  athletes and essential personnel from all other nonessential personnel, and physical distancing and masking policies during all aspects of noncompetition.
  • If 50% or more of eligible teams in a particular sport in a division cancel their fall season, there will be no fall NCAA championship in that sport in that division.

For a full list of requirements, click here.

The divisions must determine by Aug. 21 whether their fall sports seasons and NCAA championships should occur this year. All three divisions must follow their governance processes in making decisions.

“The first and most important consideration is whether sports can be conducted safely for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and U. of California system president. “Each division must examine whether it has the resources available to take the required precautions given the spread of COVID-19.”

The board based its requirements on guidance from the NCAA’s COVID-19 Advisory Panel, established in March and comprising leading medical, public health and epidemiology experts. The panel will continue to closely monitor the pandemic and its impact on higher education and college sports. They will provide updated recommendations or changes to the requirements as they come up.

“Our decisions place emphasis where it belongs — on the health and safety of college athletes,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “Student-athletes should never feel pressured into playing their sport if they do not believe it is safe to do so. These policies ensure they can make thoughtful, informed decisions about playing this fall.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Sports, Top Stories