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.
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:
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.