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Division I to work toward hosting fall championships in spring

DI Board of Directors also adopts student-athlete protections due to COVID-19

Division I will work toward hosting scaled back fall championships in the spring, the Division I Board of Directors determined. The board met by videoconference Friday and adopted the Division I Council recommendation regarding fall championships.

Board members cautioned that fall championships should be played in the spring only if they can be conducted safely and in accordance with federal, state and local health guidelines. The board acknowledged that its action pertained to fall championships only and that the final decisions on bracket sizes and composition will be approved by the board.

Members directed the Council, the Division I Competition Oversight Committee and the Division I Football Oversight Committee to work on models for championships in the impacted fall sports. The priority remains preserving opportunities for winter and spring sport student-athletes who did not have the chance to participate in NCAA championships in 2019-20.

The board noted that its decision regarding fall championships would help Division I college athletes as they plan for their futures.

“We want to provide opportunities for student-athletes whenever possible,” said acting board chair Denise Trauth, president of Texas State. “We understand it will be complicated and different, and we’re not certain how it will look. But we believe it’s important to try to give students that championship experience.”

Additionally, all fall sport student-athletes will receive both an additional year of eligibility and an additional year in which to complete it, as the Council suggested, through a blanket waiver.

The board also adopted the Council-recommended protections for college athletes:

  • Schools are prohibited from requiring student-athletes to waive legal rights regarding COVID-19 as a condition of athletics participation.
  • Schools are prohibited from canceling or reducing athletics scholarships if a college athlete in any sport opts not to participate due to COVID-19.
  • Student-athletes who do not enroll full time during the 2020 fall term have flexibility in the progress-toward-degree requirements that must be met for eligibility in future terms.
  • The financial aid of fall sport senior student-athletes who take advantage of the additional year of eligibility and extended clock will not count against team limits in 2021-22.
  • Schools are required to:
    • Review current insurance coverage for all student-athletes who are competing this fall.
    • Inform student-athletes about the risk classification of their sport as outlined in the Resocialization of Collegiate Sport document.
    • Inform student-athletes how the mandates in the Resocialization of Collegiate Sport document are being met at their campus.

The protections are effective immediately.