NCAA Instructs Divisions to Decide on the Fate of Fall Sports by Aug. 21

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NCAA Instructs Divisions to Decide on the Fate of Fall Sports by Aug. 21

(Image from ncaa.com)

The NCAA Board of Governors has pushed back the decision on whether college sports can proceed with activity this fall or not to Aug. 21. The time until that date will be used to determine whether or not competitions in fall sports like soccer, women’s volleyball, field hockey, water polo and even lower level FCS competition can continue.

Here are some of the requirements:

  • All fall sports activity must follow recently released return-to-sport guidelines from the NCAA Sports Science Institution.
  • The NCAA will establish a phone number and email to allow college athletes, parents or others to report alleged failures to meet medical requirement. The Association will then notify the school that the complaint comes from, and immediate action is expected to be taken.
  • All student-athletes must be allowed to opt out of competitions due to concerns about contracting Covid-19. If the athlete chooses to opt out, their scholarship must be honored.
  • Each division (I, II, III) must determine eligibility accommodations by Aug. 14 for student-athletes who choose to opt out or those whose seasons are canceled or cut short due to Covid-19.
  • All member schools must adhere to federal, state and local guidelines related to Covid-19. Any NCAA championship shall adhere will those guidelines in order for an event to be held.
  • Member schools may not require student-athletes to waive their legal rights regarding Covid-19 as a condition of athletics participation.
  • Any NCAA fall championship or other postseason contests must be conducted within enhanced safety protocols for student-athletes and essential personnel. These guidelines include regular testing, separation from athletes and essential personnel from non-essential personnel, and mask wearing.
  • NCAA championship may used reduced bracketing and sites to limit exposure to Covid-19.
  • Member schools must cover Covid-19 related medical expenses in conjunction with existing insurance standards.
  • If 50% or more eligible teams in a particular sport in a division choose to cancel their fall season, there will be no NCAA championship in that sport for the season.
  • If fall sports championships are postponed in any division, a decision to conduct that championship at a later date will be based on scientific data available at the time regarding Covid-19, among other considerations.

These protocols come as the SEC recently announced a practice schedule for all football teams that will start on Aug 17. Also, the Big Ten released their conference-only schedule for this coming football season just this morning:

It is also important to note that since the FBS holds its own championship, the College Football Playoff, it would not directly be impacted by a decision from the NCAA on whether to hold fall championships or not.

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