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Division I Council Approves Moving Fall Championships to the Spring

Sept. 18, 2020, 3:54 p.m. (ET)

Content Courtesy of NCAA
Image Courtesy of Brian Westerholt


On Wednesday, the Division I Council approved a package of proposals to move the 2020 fall championships to the spring of 2021. The recommendations now go to the Division I Board of Directors for approval.

After a thorough review, the recommendations were made by the Division I Competition Oversight Committee for men’s cross country, women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s water polo. The adjustments are being made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While no one wanted to see fall championships impacted by the pandemic, the Competition Oversight Committee put a thoughtful proposal in front of the Council which was resoundingly endorsed.  We believe we have an appropriate and considerate plan to move fall championship events to the spring, and I look forward to presenting this plan to the Board of Directors next week,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “The plan gives maximum opportunities to fall student-athletes to participate in NCAA championships, while preserving access to conferences through automatic qualifications.”

In team sports, the brackets will be filled at 75% of their normal capacities.

The oversight committee reviewed recommendations from sport committees and agreed to support maximum flexibility to allow teams to meet specified minimum contest requirements, which the committee already recommended reducing by 50%.

Contests conducted in the fall term for all fall sport championships that will be conducted in the spring will count toward selection into that respective championship. Sport committees are encouraged to consider all data available to them at the time of selections.

The oversight committee may need to revisit this topic if conditions warrant nearer the time the playing and practice seasons for these sports begin, but for now, the committee supports providing maximum flexibility for selection purposes.

The NCAA Board of Governors has directed that all sites of each championship be predetermined and that the number of preliminary-round sites be reduced to support health and safety and operational management of the championships this spring.

All sites are to be determined.

Field hockey

The semifinals and finals are scheduled for May 7-9. The championship bracket will consist of 12 teams: 10 automatic qualifiers and two at-large selections.

Normally, the bracket size for the championship is 16 teams.

Regular-season competition will be conducted February 12 to April 23. Selections would occur April 24.

Playing and practice season rules

The Council also adopted emergency legislation adjusting playing and practice season rules for fall sports other than football.

The adjustments:

  • Allow a school to break up the fall segment into multiple segments of the playing season.
  •  Prohibit practice during finals (and the week prior) at the conclusion of the fall term if a team is “in-season” but not competing.
  • Require a break prior to the start of the spring championship segment.
  • Allow schools to extend their seasons past the NCAA championship date in that sport but require seasons to end at or before the end of the school’s academic year.
  • Exempts non-NCAA championship postseason competitions that occur outside the playing season
  • Prohibit midyear enrollees from competing in the 2020-21 academic year.