INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA’s Division II and III both announced Wednesday that their fall 2020 championships are canceled due to the operational, logistical and financial challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wayne State College is among the institutions which compete in NCAA Division II.
The presidents council of both divisions made their decisions separately Wednesday after the NCAA Board of Governors directed each division to make a decision on its fall sport championships. The board also directed each division to meet various requirements to compete in the fall. Those directives include that all member institutions apply the socialization principles to fall sports and set a 50% sponsorship threshold for a fall sport championship to be conducted, among other requirements.
“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, 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.”
As of Wednesday, 11 of the 23 Division II conferences — including the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), of which Wayne State is a member — had announced they will not compete during the traditional fall season. Last week, the NSIC announced a delayed start and a reduced schedule for fall sports.
Along with Wayne State, the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Chadron State College are members of Division II. Nebraska at Kearney is in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), while Chadron State is in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC).
Nebraska Wesleyan University competes in Division III and its league, the American Rivers Conference, announced last week it will proceed with conference competition, using a reduced schedule in football and single round-robin schedules in other sports.
“Looking at the health and safety challenges we face this fall during this unprecedented time, we had to make this tough decision to cancel championships for fall sports this academic year in the best interest of our student-athlete and member institutions,” said Tori Murden McClure, chair of the Division III presidents council. “Our championships Committee reviewed the financial and logistical ramifications if Division III fall sports championships were conducted in the spring and found it was logistically untenable and financially prohibitive. Our management council reached the same conclusion. Moving forward, we will try to maximize the championships experience for our winter and spring sport student-athletes, who unfortunately were short-changed last academic year.”
On July 22, the Division II Administrative Committee approved waivers to allow Division II student-athletes to retain the use of a season of competition if their team completes 50% or less of the sport’s Bylaw 17 maximum contests/dates of competition for the 2020-21 academic year. Additionally, student-athletes who qualify for the season of competition waiver, or whose institutions cancel the sport season entirely, will receive an extension of their 10 semesters/15 quarters of eligibility, provided the student-athlete was otherwise eligible for competition during the 2020-21 academic year. Division II schools and conferences can still choose to play part or all of their regular season in the fall semester if they follow the requirements set forth by the board of governors.