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Report: Power 5 Conferences Exploring Staging Fall Championships Without NCAA

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 1, 2020

FILE - In this April 19, 2019, file photo, an athlete stands near a NCAA logo during a softball game in Beaumont, Texas. California will let college athletes hire agents and make money from endorsements, defying the NCAA and setting up a likely legal challenge that could reshape U.S. amateur sports. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher, File)
Aaron M. Sprecher/Associated Press

Leaders from the Power Five conferences are reportedly looking into the possibility of holding fall sports championships without the NCAA. 

Per Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde, the move is being explored in the event the NCAA Board of Governors opts to cancel or postpone fall sports championships—other than the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)—because of the coronavirus pandemic, at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday. 

Dellenger and Forde did note the board could move to delay any decision until later on this month, but "it is "expected" that the Board of Governors "will decide the fate of fall sports championships outside of football" during the meeting. 

The Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) falls outside of the NCAA's jurisdiction since the College Football Playoff is controlled by the 10 bowl subdivision conferences and governed by several university chancellors and presidents. 

There has been speculation for years that the 65 teams in the Power Five conferences could try to split off from the NCAA. 

Louisville athletic director Bryan Maggard spoke about the potential for an individual school to breakaway from the NCAA during the ACC media days last summer, via Tim Buckley of the Daily Advertiser:

“Is there a potential out there for the top-tier Power 5 schools to break off and do their own thing, and what might be perceived as a lower-tier Power 5 group sustain with everybody else? I think anything’s possible. 

“That would take a lot of planning and implementation. That’s probably one of those that’s kind of way out there, more from a conceptual standpoint. But is it outside the realm of possibility? Maybe not.”

One unnamed athletic director told told Dellenger and Forde that he would "be really worried" right now if he was NCAA president Mark Emmert. 

Per Dellenger and Forde, one possible motivation for Power Five schools to conduct fall sports on their own is "to justify playing football" without "uniquely subjecting football players to any risk" due to the pandemic. 

The full list of fall sports in the NCAA includes men's and women's soccer, field hockey and women's volleyball.

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