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Division II affirms same fall 2020 playing and practice seasons, championships

Administrative Committee provides flexibility for schools unable to play in the fall

The Division II Administrative Committee on Wednesday affirmed that the division’s playing and practice seasons this fall, along with fall championships, remain unchanged for now. The committee also signaled support for potential revisions to this year’s fall championship schedules or formats as needed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The committee’s action followed recommendations from the Division II Championships Committee, Legislation Committee, Membership Committee and national Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. All the committees reviewed survey feedback from Division II presidents, chancellors, athletics directors and conference commissioners.

“All of the committees involved in this decision acknowledged the ongoing uncertainty about the spread of COVID-19, and the need for schools and conferences to have flexibility over competitive equity. Different actions and approaches states are taking to address COVID-19 may cause modifications to be made to the playing and practice seasons and the championships if the situation changes,” said Sandra Jordan, chancellor of South Carolina Aiken and chair of the Division II Presidents Council. “We will continue to take action in ways that protect the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and spectators, while providing conferences and NCAA member institutions the flexibility they need to navigate successfully in these unprecedented times.”

For Division II schools unable to participate in the traditional fall 2020 championship segment, including the NCAA Division II Championship, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administrative Committee approved a blanket waiver that allows schools to adjust schedules during a fall sport’s championship segment and nonchampionship segment for the 2020-21 academic year only. The blanket waiver also provides more scheduling freedom for golf and tennis teams that use the alternate playing season format.

“Providing this type of flexibility to institutions and conferences that might not be able to participate in the traditional fall championship segment allows them to determine an appropriate playing and practice season, which helps provide fall sport student-athletes with a meaningful experience,” Jordan said. “This flexibility will also assist with institutional management of the impact of COVID-19 and resulting enrollment management challenges.”

Specifically, the waiver permits institutions or conferences to declare a championship segment at any point during the 2020-21 academic year equal to the number of days (see chart below) in the championship segment for fall sports. In Division II, these sports are cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.


Number of Calendar Days in the Championship Segment (First Permissible Date for Practice to the First Date of the 2020 NCAA Division II Championship)

Cross Country
84 days
Field Hockey
89 days
103 days
Men’s Soccer
95 days
Women’s Soccer
95 days
108 days

Institutions that declare a different championship segment will not be eligible to participate in the Division II Championship, but a conference championship opportunity may be available. Institutions may divide the championship segment into two segments, but winter break legislation requiring that student-athletes receive seven consecutive days off during an approved window of time in December still will apply. Student-athletes also must be given a break of 14 consecutive calendar days at the conclusion of the championship segment in accordance with the legislation.

Additionally, the waiver permits institutions to declare a nonchampionship segment at a different time during the 2020-21 academic year, based on the institution’s adjusted championship segment. Schools still cannot schedule during institutional final exams or the legislated winter break. The nonchampionship segment must end seven calendar days before final examinations. If the nonchampionship segment precedes the championship segment, student-athletes must receive a break of 14 consecutive calendar days between segments.

For golf and tennis teams that use the alternate playing season format and declare fall as their championship segment, the waiver permits institutions to extend the fall championship segment and/or the spring nonchampionship segment by the number of days the institution delayed the start of the fall 2020 championship segment. Practice during the spring nonchampionship segment may not begin before Jan. 10, and competition may not begin before Feb. 1 (the current parameters for golf and tennis teams that play the championship segment in the spring).

The Administrative Committee is composed of the chairs and vice chairs of the Division II Presidents Council and Management Council and one additional member of the Presidents Council. The committee is tasked with handling important Division II business in between quarterly meetings of the Presidents Council.