NCAA Division II, III Fall Championship Events Canceled amid COVID-19

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2020

A group of footballs waits for warmups prior to an NCAA college football game between North Carolina State and the Ball State in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press

There will be no NCAA Division II or Division III championships during the fall sports season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Both divisions announced the news Wednesday. The DII announcement said the decision was made "due to the operational, logistical and financial challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic," while the DIII announcement listed "the health and safety of the division's student-athletes, coaches, athletics administrators and communities as its priority."

Both announcements noted the NCAA Board of Governors left the decision on whether to hold fall sports championships amid the pandemic up to each division. Both divisions also determined that moving the fall championships to the spring season was not possible.

The DII announcement provided more details, explaining the Board of Governors put a number of requirements in place to hold fall sports, including that "all member institutions apply the resocialization principles to fall sports and set a 50 percent sponsorship threshold for a fall sport championship to be conducted."

The resocialization principles include testing protocols, mask requirements and other public health measures instituted to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"With the Board of Governors' directives, the Division II Presidents Council determined that it was not feasible to hold fall championships as planned or to postpone them to the spring while prioritizing the health and well-being of student-athletes," the announcement read, noting 11 of the 23 Division II conferences have already announced they will not hold sports in the fall.

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Although there will not be any championships, schools and conferences will be allowed to hold their regular seasons in the fall if they can follow the protocols in place.

What's more, student-athletes will retain their year of eligibility if their schools or conferences do not play their fall seasons.

This announcement comes with plenty of uncertainty about the Division I football season.

The Power Five conferences have all instituted changes to their schedules that range from canceling nonconference games to pushing the start date back. There are also additional bye weeks in case games need to be rescheduled or postponed.

On Wednesday, the College Football Playoff announced it pushed the selection date back from Dec. 6 to Dec. 20. As of now, the CFP is still scheduled to happen with semifinals on Jan. 1 and the national title game on Jan. 11.