While discussing developments in college sports before the next episode of NCAA's Social Series, which will air Thursday at 6 p.m., NCAA president Mark Emmert said it is currently impossible to have fall sports championships aside from football competition because of COVID-19.
"We cannot, at this point, have fall NCAA championships."NCAA President Mark Emmert discusses the latest developments in fall sports and looks ahead to winter and spring championships.Hear more on the NCAA Social Series TONIGHT at 7 p.m. ET from @NCAA. pic.twitter.com/SmjC8FU0Uo— NCAA (@NCAA) August 13, 2020
Due to the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences' Tuesday postponements of their football seasons and the NCAA's previous cancellations of Division II, Division III and FCS fall championships, there are now fewer schools likely to take part in fall sports.
"We cannot, at this point, have fall NCAA championships because there's not enough schools participating," Emmert said. "The board of governors has also said, 'Look, if you don't have half of the schools playing a sport, you can't have a legitimate championship.'"
Emmert said that ruling currently pertains to every sport excluding FBS football. In light of what he called a "tragic" situation, Emmert said decision-makers should now turn their efforts to creating meaningful winter and spring championships for athletes.
"My staff's been working hard on it, talking to a lot of commissioners ... and there are ways to do this," Emmert said. "I'm completely confident that we can figure this out. ... We can use the fall (to) keep kids healthy, keep them engaged with their coaches and athletic departments, focus on their academic success, and work with them and let them practice and stay ready to play. Then let's go compete at that time."
To fulfill that vision, Emmert said high priority must be given to winter and spring NCAA sports because they lost their championships to COVID-19 last season.
After defending those athletes, Emmert said the next step would be to scale back championship bracket sizes, play at predetermined sites and create quarantine situations similar to the NBA bubble to protect students and coaches from COVID-19.
While he did say postponing fall sports is not ideal and might create other conflicts in the spring, Emmert said it's entirely feasible.
"It is doable, and we want to do that," Emmert said. "We want to make it work for these students."