Coronavirus: NCAA Division III fall championships canceled

Coronavirus: NCAA Division III fall championships canceled
A detail of giant NCAA logo is seen outside of the stadium on the practice day prior to the NCAA Men's Final Four at the Georgia Dome on April 5, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images, File)

Officials with the NCAA announced Wednesday the cancellation of fall championships for Division III sports due to the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was made Wednesday by the Division III Presidents Council in light of the pandemic and “related administrative and financial challenges,” according to officials. Tori Murden McClure, chair of the Presidents Council and president of Kentucky’s Spalding University, said the decision was made “in the best interest of our student-athlete and member institutions.”

“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,” McClure said.

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“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.”

The decision came after the NCAA Board of Governors announced requirements for schools and conferences planning to conduct fall sports such as soccer, volleyball and lower levels of football. Officials gave divisions until Aug. 21 to decide whether they would be able to conduct championship events safely.

According to the board’s decision, at least 50% of teams competing in a fall sport in any division must conduct a regular season this fall for a championship to be held. Championships may use reduced fields of teams or competitors in individual sports and either predetermined sites or a single-site format to deal with COVID-19.

The board added that the NCAA will not permit member schools to require athletes to waive legal rights regarding COVID-19 to participate in sports, and any expenses incurred by athletes related to COVID-19 must be covered by schools under current insurance standards.

The United States leads the world with the most coronavirus cases and the highest death toll. Since the start of the pandemic, officials have confirmed more than 4.7 million infections and reported more than 157,000 deaths nationwide, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

More than 18.6 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide and more than 702,000 people have died of the viral infection, according to Johns Hopkins.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.