NCAA President Says No Fall Championships 'at This Point' Due to Lack of Colleges Participating

NCAA President Mark Emmert said that the hope is that championships can be held in the winter and spring

NCAA president Mark Emmert. Photo: NCAA

College athletes will not have championship games this fall, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced on Thursday.

Speaking in a video shared by the NCAA on Twitter, Emmert said that there are simply not enough schools opting to participate in sports because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"We cannot, now, at this point, have fall NCAA championships because there's not enough schools participating," Emmert said, adding that the organization's Board of Governors ruled that "if you don't have half of schools playing a sport, you can't have a legitimate championship."

"So we can't in any Division 1 NCAA championship sport now, which is everything other than NBS football that goes on in the fall," Emmert said. "So sadly, tragically, that's going to be the case this fall, you know, full stop."

While the Pac 12 and Big Ten conferences have said they will postpone, the Big 12, ACC and SEC are planning on moving forward.

Emmert expressed hope that championships would be able to be held later on.

"But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't and can't turn toward winter and spring and say, 'Okay, how can we create a legitimate championship for all those students?'" he added. "There are ways to do this. I'm completely confident that we can figure this out. If schools and conferences want to move forward and try and have — and more than half of them want to do it, and that's surely the indication right now — then let's do it."

Emmert also explained that a priority will be given to winter and spring sports that were forced to abruptly end without championship games earlier this year — including hockey, baseball, softball, lacrosse and track — calling the decision to shut down "horrible" and "awful," but "necessary."

Emmert was adamant that college sports will continue — though they will look very different.

"If we modify the model — which we need to do anyway because of the virus — if we modify the model, shrink the bracket sizes, do everything in predetermined sites instead of running kids around the country, use predetermined sites, move towards bubbles or semi-bubble models in volleyball, let's say, or soccer, there's a way to do it."

"Will it be normal? Of course not," he said. "It will be a fall sport in the spring. Will it create other conflicts and challenges? Of course. But is it doable? Yeah, it is doable, and we want to do that. We want to, again, make it work for these students."

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