HUNTINGTON — Friday is shaping up to be a big day within collegiate sports.
According to reports, the NCAA Board of Governors is expected to meet for discussions on whether to cancel fall sports championships that are sponsored by the NCAA.
Those NCAA-sponsored championships include all sports except FBS football, which is controlled by the College Football Playoff. That does include FCS football and football at lower divisions (Division II, Division III) as well, though.
If the NCAA elects to cancel all fall sports championships — much like it did with spring sports when the pandemic first broke out in March — then it would put a lot of pressure on the College Football Playoff and the FBS systems to follow suit.
With such an important decision, West Virginia University athletic director Shane Lyons — the chair of the Football Oversight Committee — asked the NCAA to hold off on making any type of decision at Friday’s meeting.
The goal is to gather all the information possible prior to a possible punt of the 2020 football season.
Some excerpts of the letter were released on Wednesday.
“The committee recognizes that some conferences and schools have made the difficult decision to cancel all intercollegiate athletics this fall; however, others continue to consider alternative models in an attempt to preserve competitive opportunities for student-athletes this fall,” the letter read. “While experience has shown that the impact of the virus can shift dramatically from week to week, the committee strongly believes that a patient approach to evaluating the possibility of conducting 2020 fall championships will provide the remaining conferences and schools the best opportunity to make deliberate decisions about conducting practices and competition this fall.”
There is a buzz around the situation due to football possibly playing and all other fall sports having their seasons in jeopardy.
However, the lasting ramifications of not having a football season could financially cripple the athletic departments of many NCAA schools due to loss of revenue, which is why there could be football, but other sports may have to cancel for the fall.
Two FBS conferences — the Big Ten and the Pac-12 — have already made the decision to modify their schedules to include conference-only games, which has changed the landscape for many teams due to cancellations of non-conference scheduling.
The SEC, ACC and Big 12 are all still gathering information while also trying to work together to make sure that rivalry games are preserved, such as Clemson-South Carolina, Florida-Florida State and others.
Lyons admitted recently that college football is currently against it due to the COVID-19 spikes over the last month, which have changed the landscape of travel and safety measures in several states.
In regards to those spikes, the NCAA also released updated guidelines for the resocialization of sport, which would include mandatory 72-hour COVID-19 testing for student-athletes prior to competition.
In terms of 2020 fall sports, the fight to preserve the year is in its final minutes.
With many fall sports scheduled to start practice in the next two weeks, including a July 31 date for football for teams playing in Week Zero, decisions have to be made soon.
If not on Friday, those decisions would come at an early August meeting of the NCAA’s Board of Governors, which would take place prior to the expected start date of practice for the majority of sports programs.
On Friday, it will become known whether the NCAA grants another timeout for one last gameplan down the stretch or if time on the 2020 sports season has run out.