College soccer: 2020 season threatened amid growing cutbacks

The move to cut back or eliminate fall sports (or move them to the spring) grew as the week ended.

Here is an overview of how it affects men's and women's soccer:

NCAA Division I. The Pac-12 followed the Big Ten in moving to restrict fall sports to conference play only.

All Big Ten and Pac-12 schools -- 14 and 12 -- play women's soccer but men's soccer is played by only nine and five schools, respectively. (The Pac-12's sixth member is San Diego State. What the Pac-12 move means for SDSU's participation is not known.)

In making its announcement, the Pac-12 stated it will be delaying the start of fall sports until it is "provided sufficient positive data to enable a move to a second phase of return-to-play activities.”

The announcement came hours before Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott announced he was tested positive for Covid-19 with mild flu-like symptoms and is self-quarantining while still working from home.

Earlier in the week, the Ivy League announced that it was canceling all fall sports.

Other Division I conferences with men's or women's soccer announced plans to cut back or eliminate their tournaments or adopt regional schedules or allow schools to regionalize their schedules.

The implications of eliminating non-conference football games are significant as many colleges in smaller conferences often earn big paydays for playing games against Power 5 conference teams like those in the Big Ten and Pac-12.

Until now, Division I programs have eliminated only a relatively small number of non-revenue sports. But that could change if college football isn't played during the 2020-21 year. One option: move football (and other fall sports) to the spring.

Suspended fall programs: NCAA Division I (8)
Connecticut: Yale (M/W)
Massachusetts: Harvard (M/W)
New Hampshire: Dartmouth (M/W)
New Jersey: Princeton (M/W)
New York: Columbia (M/W), Cornell (M/W)
Pennsylvania: Penn (M/W)
Rhode Island: Brown (M/W)
Note: M=sponsors men's soccer; W=sponsors women's soccer.

NCAA Division II. In May, the NCAA Division II Presidents Council approved reductions in the maximum number of games teams can play -- down to 14 from 18 for soccer.

A week earlier, the California Collegiate Athletic Association, the most successful NCAA Division II conference, suspended sports for the fall 2020 semester in response to 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.

On Thursday, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference both suspended sports for the fall, though only four members (Albany State, Lincoln, Shaw and Spring Hill play soccer).

Suspended fall programs: NCAA Division II (17)
Alabama: Spring Hill (M/W).
Cal Poly Pomona (M/W), Cal State Dominguez Hills (M/W), Cal State East Bay (M/W), Cal State LA (M/W), Cal State Monterey Bay (M/W), Cal State San Bernardino (M/W), Cal State San Marcos (M/W), Chico State (M/W), Humboldt State (M/W), San Francisco State (M/W), Sonoma State (M/W), Stanislaus State (M/W).
Connecticut: Bridgeport (M/W)
Georgia: Albany State (W).
North Carolina: Shaw (M/W).
Pennsylvania: Lincoln (W).
Note: M=sponsors men's soccer; W=sponsors women's soccer.

NCAA Division III. On Friday, the New England Small College Athletic Conference, which has produced five of the last six men's soccer national champions at the NCAA Division III, has canceled all sports for fall 2020.

NESCAC said its 11 schools will "seek creative ways to provide meaningful athletic opportunities" to players but there will be no competitive games.

Amherst, Bowdoin, Wesleyan and Williams had already announced that they will not play in the fall. The other NESCAC members are Bates, Colby, Connecticut College, Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity and Tufts.

Tufts win the Division III national championship in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019. Williams (1995), Middlebury (2007) and Amherst (2015) have also won men's national titles. On the women's side, Williams won titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

The Centennial Conference has suspended fall sports until the end of September when a decision on whether to start will be made. The Middle Atlantic Conference will play fall sports this year, though with a conference-only schedule and start date of Sept. 18.

The University Athletic Association, which has teams spread all the Eastern half of the United States, announced that it would not have conference play due to the extensive air travel that would be required.

To date, Carnegie Mellon and Case Western Reserve are the only members that have canceled fall sports entirely. The other UAA members are Brandeis, Emory, University of Chicago, NYU, Rochester, and Washington University (Mo.).

The moves mean that four of the top five Division III men's schools in the final United Soccer Coaches men's rankings for the regular season will start the fall without soccer.

Suspended fall programs: NCAA Division III (37)
California: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (M/W).
Connecticut College (M/W), Trinity (M/W), Wesleyan (M/W).
Grinnell (M/W).
Maine: Bates (M/W), Bowdoin (M/W), Colby (M/W).
Maryland: *Johns Hopkins (M/W), *McDaniel (M/W), *Washington College (M/W).
Massachusetts: Amherst (M/W), UMass-Boston (M/W), MIT (M/W), Mount Holyoke (W) Tufts (M/W), Wellesley (W), Williams (M/W).
Minnesota. Carleton (M/W).
New Jersey: College of New Jersey (M/W).
New York: Hamilton (M/W), Pratt Institute (M/W), RPI (M/W), Sarah Lawrence (M/W).
Ohio: Case Western Reserve (M/W), Oberlin (M/W).
Pennsylvania: *Bryn Mawr (W), Carnegie Mellon (M/W), *Dickinson (M/W), *Franklin & Marshall (M/W), *Gettysburg (M/W), *Haverford (M/W), *Muhlenberg  (M/W), Swarthmore (M/W), *Ursinus  (M/W).
Vermont: Middlebury (M/W).
Virginia: Washington & Lee (M/W)
*Suspended fall sports until the end of September when a decision by the Centennial Conference on whether to start will be made.
Note: M=sponsors men's soccer; W=sponsors women's soccer.

NAIA. Like NCAA Division II, the NAIA has reduced the number of games teams can play -- down to 14 from 18 for men's and women's soccer. The start date will be Sept. 5.

A threshold system will be used as a guideline for determining if play will indeed return. The goal is that about half the participating schools in each sport must receive clearance from local authorities to return to competition before the season can begin.

Suspended fall programs: NAIA (2)
Michigan: Michigan-Dearborn (M/W)
Texas: Texas College (M/W)
Note: M=sponsors men's soccer; W=sponsors women's soccer.

Junior College. After the National Junior College Athletic Association, which has recommended moving men's and women's soccer and a majority of JC sports played in the fall to the spring of 2021, two West Coast community college conferences announced they are moving fall sports to the winter and spring.

The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) with 110 members approved a contingency plan that shifts all sports, including men's and women's soccer, to the spring season. Soccer will begin in February and finish in April, and the schedule for all sports will be reduced by 30 percent (22 games to 15 for soccer).

With programs in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) will move most sports, including men's and women's soccer, to the winter and spring.
3 comments about "College soccer: 2020 season threatened amid growing cutbacks".
  1. William Mcginty, July 11, 2020 at 9:19 p.m.

    Elites Running For The Hills - While Others Find Solutions To Save The College Soccer Season

    So, Harvard and the other Ivy League schools will limit in-person classes and cancel all fall sports.  Many Junior Ivy’s schools have also announced cancelation of fall sports. So, Williams, Amherst, Bowdoin are not playing this fall.  

    In the alternative, the UAA with prestigious schools like University of Chicago, Washington University in St Louis, Emory, Carnegie Mellon, University of Rochester and other great schools, did not cancel the season but figured out solutions.

    It would have been hard to travel to Chicago, St Louis, Atlanta etc. so they reached out to local conferences to play at closer local schools as part of their Conferences.  Probably Emory will play local schools near Atlanta, Chicago and Wash U. will find games close to home.  

    University of Rochester will only take buses to games located in New York State. Not perfect but pretty good.

    So, the Elites at Ivy and junior Ivy League couldn’t figure out a similar solution.  Young people are taking Gap Years because programs have been canceled.  Why?  

    I can understand why older teachers may be concerned about attending classes with a bunch of students.  But kids from 18 to 21 have a lower risk, especially if serious controls are put in place.  

    So why have these programs been completely canceled?  No attempt to modify the season, limit travel, establish games with local colleges?  No, no, no games.  That’s smart!

  2. William Mcginty, July 11, 2020 at 9:20 p.m.

    Comment continued

    What is a senior athlete supposed to do?  This is probably their last chance to play Soccer, Football, and other sports, since they will not be going pro, and will need to move forward with their lives and take the jobs that they have lined up for after doing internships.  So, the presumed “Elites” are running for the hills at the expense of kids who just want to play.

    I imagine these seniors will carry this regret for the rest of their lives.

    But the Non-Elites” found a compromise solution. Not great but not bad.  So, these Elites who in the real-world influence many of the world's important decisions, ran for the hills and forgot the kids in their care. Well I think we can do without these small minds that fail to come up with solutions.  

    Bubba of the North – Soccer Enthusiast and Former Youth Soccer Coach

  3. Peter Bechtold replied, July 12, 2020 at 11:19 p.m.

    The so called elite schools cancelled football and other fall sports because they will not have students on campus. You are arguing for seniors and others who will miss a final year of playing a schedule of two months and a half without students to watch and cheer them on. Elite schools remember that they were established to educate students, not to provide extra curricular activities.
    written by a four years varsity soccer player and coach at many levels. The 

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