College soccer: NCAA cancels Division II and III fall championships, Division I yet to decide fate of fall sports

The NCAA's Board of Governors punted on calling off fall sports championships, leaving it up to the councils of its three divisions to make the call whether to proceed with play in the fall.

Division III, where 43 of 44 conferences have postponed most fall sports, quickly decided to cancel fall championships. And Division II then followed suit less than an hour later.

The decisions affect men's and women's soccer as well as football, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, women's volleyball and men's water polo.

In 2018, the latest year for which the NCAA has published participation data, 38,319 men and women played Division II or Division III soccer.

NCAA's Board of Governors gave the three divisions until Aug. 21 to make a decision.

Division I has yet to decide. Its decision would not affect the football championship at the largest programs - those in the Power Five (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) and Group of Five conferences (AAC, Conference-USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt).

To date, seven conferences with men's and women's soccer have postponed men's and women's soccer and other sports:

America East (8 men's soccer teams, 9 women's soccer teams)
Atlantic 10 (13 men's soccer teams, 14 women's soccer teams)
Big West (8 men's soccer teams, 9 women's soccer teams)
Ivy League (8 men's soccer teams, 8 women's soccer teams)
MAAC (11 men's soccer teams, 11 women's soccer teams)
Northeast (10 men's soccer teams, 11 women's soccer teams)
Patriot League (8 men's soccer teams, 8 women's soccer teams)

An eighth only offers women's soccer:

SWAC (10 women's soccer teams).

The decision by the NCAA's Board of Governors came a day after the official opening of preseason practice for Division I women's soccer.

In a statement, the NCAA said the Board of Governors "expressed serious concerns about the continuing high levels of COVID-19 infection in many parts of the nation" and "determined that it will only support moving forward with fall championships and other postseason play if strict conditions are applied and adhered to."

Requirements for return to play include:

-- Schools must honor the scholarship of any athlete who opts out of the season. (NCAA Division I has until Aug. 14 to determine how opting out or having a season cut short would affect eligibility.);
-- Schools must over all COVID-19-related medical costs for athletes; and
-- Schools cannot require athletes to sign COVID-19 liability waivers.

And as NCAA president Mark Emmert expressed to the Associated Press in an interview on Wednesday, the ultimate decider about play won't be the NCAA or college conferences but federal, state and local authorities and the guidelines put in place in response to individual COVID-19 situations around the country.
3 comments about "College soccer: NCAA cancels Division II and III fall championships, Division I yet to decide fate of fall sports".
  1. jeff tackett, August 6, 2020 at 1:55 p.m.

    So no championships but there can still be a season?  not sure why you play a season to just participate... This will be the true meaning of a "Participation trophy", hmm...

  2. Elizabeth Roper replied, August 6, 2020 at 11:26 p.m.

    Jeff you play to win each time you step on the field, every game.  Championship or not, that's what athletes do. 

  3. Bill Dooley, August 6, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

    1. Pre-Covid, Division I has been pushing for a split fall/spring season.  Here might be an opportunity to give it a test drive.

    2. It also appears (source: Top Drawer article) NCAA says it will not hold D II & III championships in the spring. Will conferences scrap the entire year?

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