NCAA delays decision on fall sports championships until at least August; FBS conferences breathe a sigh of relief — for now


FBS programs, particularly those in the Power Five, got exactly what they wanted from the NCAA.  For now, at least.

The NCAA Board of Governors, as expected, held a meeting Friday.  Last week, the football oversight committee sent a letter asking the ultimate decision-makers to avoid making one on whether to conduct fall championships as college sports tries to find a path to play through the pandemic.  While not directly impacting the highest level of college football — the NCAA has no oversight on the postseason, including playoffs — nixing of the championships in other fall sports would’ve put pressure on Power Fives, in particular, to cancel their seasons as well.

Friday, though, the NCAA announced that it will not postpone championships for any fall sports.  Instead, the discussions will continue on into August.

Below is a statement attributed to NCAA president Mark Emmert.

Today the Board of Governors and I agreed that we must continue to thoughtfully and aggressively monitor health conditions around the country and the implementation of the COVID-19 guidelines we issued last week.

The health and well-being of college athletes is the highest priority in deciding whether to proceed with our 22 NCAA championships beginning in late November.  We all remain deeply concerned about the infection trend lines we see.  It is clear that the format of our championships will have to change if they are to be conducted in a safe and fair manner.

We discussed other complexities in addition to the health and safety impacts, to include team availability, travel limitations and various local and state restrictions.  We will continue our discussions in August.

The next scheduled meeting of the Board of Governors is set for Aug. 4.  By that time, most of the Power Fives, with perhaps the exception of the Big 12, will have made some type of scheduling decisions.  In fact, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have already gone to conference-only schedules.  The ACC and SEC are expected to unveil their plans at some point next week.