by Paul Kennedy
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors voted on Friday to adopt the Division I Council recommendations regarding fall championships, including men's and women's soccer.
There will be no fall championships in Division I in the fall, but the NCAA will work on organizing "scaled back" fall championships in the spring.
The decision came with two provisos:
-- Fall championships will only be played in the spring if they can be conducted safely and in accordance with federal, state and local health guidelines.
-- The priority remains preserving opportunities for athletes who play winter and spring sports and did not have the chance to participate in NCAA championships in 2020.
The decision covers only Division I. Division II and Division III conferences hope to go forward with spring seasons, but the respective NCAA councils have already said that holding championships in the spring was untenable.
Other Division I board decisions:
-- All athletes in fall sports will receive both an additional year of eligibility (five years instead of four) and an additional year in which to complete it (six instead of five). That's even if they play a full spring season or -- which is still possible -- play a fall and spring season in the five conferences that have not shut down fall sports.
-- The financial aid of senior athletes in fall sports who take advantage of the extra year of eligibility in 2021 will not count against team limits next year. Otherwise, seniors with an extra year of eligibility would be fighting with incoming players for scholarship money.
-- Athletes can't be required to waive legal rights regarding COVID-19 as a condition of their participation, and they can't have their athletic scholarships reduced or canceled if they opt not to participate due to COVID-19.
-- Athletes who do not enroll full time during the 2020 fall term will have flexibility in meeting progress requirements toward completing their degree. Their eligibility is typically dependent on passing with a certain grade-point average a certain number of courses each year.