NCAA President Mark Emmert called off fall championships in a video released Thursday on Twitter because of issues surrounding COVID-19.
“We cannot now, at this point, have fall NCAA championships because there’s not enough schools participating,” Emmert said in the video. “The board of governors also said look, if you don’t have half of the schools playing a sport, you can’t have a legitimate championship. So we can’t in any Division I NCAA championship sport, which is everything other than FBS football that goes on in the fall.”
The fall sports affected are volleyball, soccer, field hockey, cross country and water polo.
Oklahoma State was scheduled to host the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Championships, which will no longer be happening this fall.
This is the second time a national championship scheduled to be hosted by OSU was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cowboys were supposed to host the NCAA Tennis Championships this year, but that was voided when all spring sports were canceled because of coronavirus.
Although Emmert called off fall championships right now, he discussed possibly having the championships in the winter or spring.
“That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t and can’t turn toward winter and spring and say, ‘OK, how can we create a legitimate championship for all those students?’ ” Emmert said. “My staff has been working hard on it. I’ve been talking to all of the commissioners, all 32 of them in DI, and there are ways to do this. I’m completely confident that we can figure this out.”
Emmert said the highest priority still will have to be on the spring and winter sports because those sports’ championships were canceled in March. Emmert remained confident that the fall sports can still happen while giving the winter and spring sports the priority they deserve.
Shrinking the bracket sizes, using predetermined sites and bubble models for some sports were mentioned by Emmert.
“There’s a way to do it,” Emmert said. “Will it be normal? Of course not — you’ll be playing a fall sport in the spring. Will it create other conflicts and challenges? Of course, but is it doable? Yes.”
Oklahoma State cross country and track and field director Dave Smith will meet virtually with the media on Friday morning.
Frank Bonner II
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