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NCAA cancels Division III fall championships

After the NCAA left the decision on fall sports to the individual decisions, Div. III canceled all fall championships.
Credit: Niki Lattarulo, KCEN
Pete Fredenburg coaches during his 22nd season as UMHB's head football coach, as the top-ranked Crusaders face Howard Payne on Sept. 28, 2019.

INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday morning, the NCAA board of governors left decisions on fall championships to individual divisions and shortly after, the first has announced its plan.

The NCAA Division III legislative council announced Wednesday afternoon it had canceled fall championships for the 2020-21 school year, citing the COVID-19 pandemic "and related administrative and financial challenges."

“Looking at the health and safety challenges we face this fall during this unprecedented time, we had to make this tough decision to cancel championships for fall sports this academic year in the best interest of our student-athlete and member institutions,” Div. III presidents council chair Tori Murden McClure said in the NCAA announcement. “Our Championships Committee reviewed the financial and logistical ramifications if Division III fall sports championships were conducted in the spring and found it was logistically untenable and financially prohibitive. Our Management Council reached the same conclusion. Moving forward, we will try to maximize the championships experience for our winter and spring sport student-athletes, who unfortunately were short-changed last academic year.” 

Fall sports, as defined by the NCAA, are cross country, field hockey, football, soccer, women's volleyball and men's water polo.

As part of the board of governors' decision, schools were still required to apply resocialization principles to fall sports and divisions were to cancel fall sport championships should more than 50% of schools which sponsor that sport to suspend or cancel seasons.

The announcement follows Wednesday's announcement that the University of Connecticut, a Division I school, would cancel its 2020 football season and the Big Ten Conference would move to a 10-game conference-only schedule.

In July, the American Southwest Conference, of which the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor is a member, announced it would postpone fall sports seasons with the hope of playing in the spring.

UMHB told 6 News it would not comment on the NCAA announcement is still hoping to play a 5-game spring schedule, as head football coach Pete Fredenburg said his wish was upon the July ASC announcement, to preserve eligibility for student-athletes.

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