The NCAA Division II Presidents Council released a statement late Wednesday stating the seven fall 2020 championships are canceled due to the operational, logistical and financial challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision came after the NCAA Board of Governors directed each division to make a decision on its fall sport championships. They also directed each division to meet various requirements to compete, which included that all member institutions apply the resocialization principles to fall sports and set a 50% sponsorship threshold for a fall sport championship to be conducted, among other requirements. By end of day Wednesday, 11 of the 23 conferences had announced they will not compete during the traditional fall season.
“NCAA Presidents continue to show leadership in ensuring the safety and well-being of our student athletes and coaches in making the tough decisions relative to NCAA Championship participation,” Augusta University Director of Athletics Clint Bryant said. “With all of our fall sports being a candidate for NCAA postseason play, the decision hits home but we will survive and in the end, all be better after we survive the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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.
“After reviewing and discussing the Board of Governors’ directives, the Division II Presidents Council made the difficult decision that holding fall championships in any capacity was not a viable or fiscally responsible option for Division II,” said Sandra Jordan, chancellor of USC Aiken and chair of the council. “This decision was discussed very thoroughly, and I assure you, it was not made lightly. It is important to note that fall student-athletes will be given eligibility-related flexibility to allow them championship opportunities in the future. As we move forward, we will continue to focus on providing the best championships experience for our winter and spring student-athletes who were not afforded those opportunities at the beginning of this pandemic.”
AU’s cross country coach Adam Ward tweeted Wednesday, “I feel really bad for my student athletes right now. We will make the most of tough situation, but having your season ended already is a bad feeling any way you look at it.”
In the middle of July, the Peach Belt Conference announced that all fall competition would be delayed until Oct 1.