Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY
Published 6:29 p.m. ET Aug. 13, 2020 | Updated 7:05 p.m. ET Aug. 13, 2020
USA Today Sports’ Paul Myerberg and Dan Wolken explain why postponing the college football season to the spring is not as easy as it sounds.
As conference after conference in Division I postponed fall sports, the NCAA has made the inevitable decision that there will be no fall championships in the organization’s top tier in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We cannot, at this point, have fall NCAA championships,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert in a video interview posted Thursday evening, adding it is hoped championships can be moved to the 2021 calendar year.
Emmert noted that the Board of Governors requirement of 50% of schools playing to hold the postseason would not be achievable.
“Sadly, tragically, that’s going to be the case this fall,” Emmert said. “That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t and can’t turn toward winter and spring and say ‘OK, how can we create a legitimate championship for all those students.’ … I’m completely confident that we can figure this out.”
“We cannot, at this point, have fall NCAA championships.”
NCAA President Mark Emmert discusses the latest developments in fall sports and looks ahead to winter and spring championships.
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) August 13, 2020
Fall championships in Divisions II and III had already been put on hold. This now means there will be no FCS football playoff this fall. Other sports affected are men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s field hockey and women’s volleyball.
Emmert said the possibility of playing next year will have to come with a few contingencies, though. He says first that priority must be given to the fall and winter sports that lost their championships this past year.
He also suggested that it may have to be done in a bubble or a “semi-bubble” which restricts travel for these sports. However, he sees a path to what could be a chaotic spring in collegiate athletics.
“Will it be normal? Of course not. It’ll be playing fall sports in the spring. Will it create other conflicts and challenges? Of course,” Emmert said.
“But is it doable? Yeah. And we want to do that. We want to make it work for these students.”
It should be noted, however, that this decision does not apply to the College Football Playoff, which is not an NCAA event but is run by the conferences.
As of now six of the 10 FBS leagues, including the SEC, ACC and Big 12, are still hoping to play football starting in September.
Contributing: Curt Weiler, Tallahassee Democrat
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