The NCAA won’t hold any of its 22 fall sports championships after more than 50 percent of schools postponed or canceled their seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Appearing on the NCAA Social Series, NCAA president Mark Emmert said Thursday that the board of governors decided that, “if you don’t have half of the schools playing a sport, you can’t have a legitimate championship. We can’t in any Division I championship sport now — which is everything other than FBS football that goes on in the fall. Sadly, tragically, that’s going to be the case this fall, full stop.”
There is still a chance a college football national champion is named. While the NCAA governs the Football Championship Subdivision, the Football Bowl Subdivision — the highest level of college football — has its own championship governed by the 10 FBS conferences, ESPN and the College Football Playoff. The Big 12, ACC and SEC have expressed desire to move forward with the football season this fall, although any championship would still be severely impacted by the lack of major conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12.
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The Big Ten and Pac-12, along with the Big East, Big South and many other conferences and schools have decided not to play any sports this fall. A majority of institutions that have canceled have expressed interest in playing some form of fall sports during the spring of 2021.
"My staff has been working hard on it, and talking to a lot of commissioners — all of them, all 32 of them in D-I, and there are ways to do this," Emmert said of holding spring championships, according to ESPN. "I'm completely confident that we can figure this out. If schools and conferences want to move forward, and try and have it and more than half of them want to do it — and that's surely the indication now — then let's do it. We can use the fall and keep kids healthy, keep them engaged with their coaches and their athletic departments. Focus on their academic success. Work with them and let them practice and stay ready to play, then let's go compete at that time."
Having no fall championships doesn’t mean there can’t be fall sports, as institutions and conferences could still play without a national champion being named at the end of the season
"Our soccer, volleyball and cross-country student-athletes are working hard to prepare for their seasons and they have been diligent in taking personal health precautions and following protocols around COVID-19," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said Thursday, according to ESPN. "We will support them in every way possible as we evaluate the impact of these cancellations on their fall sports seasons.”
The NCAA canceled all Division II and Division III championships last week.
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