Fall sports suspended at top NCAA Division II conference following Cal State system's shift to mostly online classes

The decision by the 23-school California State University system to cancel most in-person classes and continue instruction online due to the COVID-19 pandemic had almost immediate repercussions.

The California Collegiate Athletic Association, the most successful NCAA Division II conference, has suspended sports for the fall 2020 semester.

Twelve CCAA members are CSU-affiliated schools. A 13th member, UC San Diego, is moving to the NCAA Division I as of the 2020-21 school year. All schools have men's and women's varsity soccer programs.

The fate of the fall sports programs at the nine Cal State Division I programs -- including five Division I-A or I-AA football programs -- is up in the air.

The nine CSU schools are spread over four conferences: Cal Poly, CSUN, Fullerton State and Long Beach State in the Big West, Fresno State, San Diego State and San Jose State in the Mountain West, CSU Bakersfield in the WAC and Sacramento State in the Big Sky.

All nine Cal State Division I schools have varsity women's programs. All but Long Beach State and Fresno State have men's programs.

Fall play in the CCAA was suspended, not cancelled, as plans for the athletes in the "fall and spring" are being considered. One possibility is that the CCAA's fall sports seasons -- men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country and women's volleyball -- could be played in the spring.

CCAA statement:

"Based on Chancellor White’s May 12th announcement that the vast majority of CSU courses will be virtual for the fall semester of the 2020-21 academic year, and with utmost consideration for the health and welfare of our students, coaches, staff, faculty and communities, CCAA member institutions have determined that NCAA sport competition will not occur during the fall of 2020. The CCAA member institutions will continue to advocate strongly to maintain NCAA championship opportunities for all of our student-athletes, including our fall sports, during the 2020-21 academic year and recommend competition resume when it is safe and appropriate to do so for all of its members. Additional information regarding plans for athletics in fall and spring will be communicated as soon as it becomes available."

Four current CCAA members have won NCAA Division II soccer titles: Cal State East Bay (1988 women), Sonoma State (1990 women and 2002 men), Cal State Dominguez Hills (1991 women and 2000 and 2008 men) and UC San Diego (2000-21 women). CCAA alumni include longtime MLS stars Chris Wondolowski (Chicago State) and Kei Kamara (Cal State Dominguez Hills).

In all, CCAA schools have won 102 men's and 52 women's championships at the NCAA Division II level.

None of the nine Division I CSU schools have postponed or cancelled fall sports. NCAA president Mark Emmert has said he does not see how sports can be played at schools only offering online classes.

“College athletes are college students," Emmert said on the NCAA’s Twitter channel, "and you can’t have college sports if you don’t have college open and having students on them."

CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said the planning approach for the 23 campuses will be to have "CSU courses primarily being delivered virtually for the fall 2020 term, with limited exceptions for in-person teaching, learning and research activities that cannot be delivered virtually, are indispensable to the university's core mission and can be conducted within rigorous standards of safety and welfare. There will be hybrid approaches and there will be variability across the 23 campuses due to specific context and circumstances."

White said virtual planning is dictated by the threat of a second wave of the coronavirus that would force the suspension of in-person teaching and the difficulty some students, faculty and staff might have to safely travel to campuses.

San Diego State has one of the largest CSU campuses and athletic programs. It is in the process of purchasing land to build a new 35,000-seat stadium for the Aztec football team. (A soccer group vying to earn an MLS expansion team failed in its two-year bid to secure the rights to the land.)

After the CSU announcement, SDSU president Adela de la Torre emphasized that there would be certain lab- and performance-based instruction in person" in addition online classes.

That would seem to fit Emmert's qualification that in order for athletics to continue on campuses, in-person classes don't have to be "up and running in the full normal model, but you’ve got to treat the health and well-being of the athletes at least as much as the regular students."

Based on that latter criteria, the CCAA has specifically chosen to put athletics on pause.

5 comments about "Fall sports suspended at top NCAA Division II conference following Cal State system's shift to mostly online classes".
  1. Josh Hilden, May 13, 2020 at 10:13 a.m.

    Chico State will be sad to see that Wondo actually graduated from "Chicago" State.  Can you imagine floating the river in Chicago?

  2. Ginger Peeler replied, May 13, 2020 at 1:10 p.m.

    Don'tcha just love autocorrect?

  3. Wooden Ships, May 13, 2020 at 3:02 p.m.

    Not to quibble and pretend to know everything, I'm far from comfortable allowing California to lead in any form or fashion nationally, on any subject. 40 years ago perhaps. 

  4. Craig Cummings, May 15, 2020 at 8:38 p.m.

    I am sorry to read this WS, as I am a former player at CSUDH. Also misspelled,as Chico  state was.I  am also a former ccaa ref and had kei  last  game   inside the home depot center, the only game once a  year CSUDH gets to play in.HDC now called by  a new sponsers name.

  5. Wooden Ships replied, May 16, 2020 at 10:55 p.m.

    I hope they at least play a Spring season. Assumption of Risk, has to be accepted going forward. 

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