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NCAA cancels Division I fall championships, football still allowed to play


UNC field hockey players stand as the starting lineup is announced during the NCAA Championship Game at Kentner Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. UNC won 6-1, marking their 8th national championship.

NCAA President Mark Emmert announced Thursday evening that the NCAA is canceling all 2020 Division I fall championships and will attempt to have them in the spring because too many programs postponed their seasons over COVID-19 concerns.

This announcement comes eight days after the Division II Presidents Council and Division III Presidents Council each canceled their respective fall championships.

The NCAA's decision means that FBS football is the only fall sport that will be allowed to have a fall championship because the NCAA does not govern the sport.

"We cannot now, at this point, have fall NCAA championships because there's not enough schools participating," Emmert said in a video announcement. "The Board of Governors also said, 'Look, if you don't have half of the schools playing a sport, it can't have a legitimate championship.'"

Fall sports teams will still be allowed to participate in a regular season schedule, but they will not have a chance to win a national title.

Here's which sports this decision will affect at UNC:

  • Men's and women's cross country
  • Field hockey
  • Men's and women's soccer
  • Volleyball

Emmert said in his announcement that the NCAA's focus is shifting to winter and spring sports to determine a path for those athletes to have national championships.

"I'm completely confident that we can figure this out," Emmert said. "If schools and conferences want to move forward and more than half of them want to do it — and that's surely the indication right now — then let's do it."

Two days earlier, the Big Ten announced that it would be postponing the seasons of all 2020 fall sports. Later that day, the Pac-12 announced that it would not have any athletic competition for the remainder of this calendar year. 

The ACC held a meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss the fate of its football season.


@DTHSports |

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