NCAA cancels fall championships as major football marches on

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FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, a player runs across the NCAA logo during practice in Pittsburgh before an NCAA tournament college basketball game. A court decision the NCAA says will hurt college sports by allowing student-athletes to be paid vast sums of money will go into effect. That's after the Supreme Court declined Tuesday to intervene at this point. Justice Elena Kagan denied the NCAAs request to put a lower court ruling on hold at least temporarily while the NCAA asks the Supreme Court to take up the case. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

The NCAA called off fall championship events — a move Thursday that does not affect major college football — because not enough schools will be competing in sports such as men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball during the first semester.

NCAA President Mark Emmert made the announcement in a video posted on Twitter, but it has been clear this was coming as conferences canceled fall sports seasons because of the coronvirus pandemic.

“That doesn't mean we shouldn't and can't turn toward winter and spring and say, ‘How can we create a legitimate championship for those students?’" Emmert said. "There are ways to do this. I am completely confident we can figure this out. If schools and conferences want to move forward ... let's do it.”

Emmert also said NCAA officials have begun work on contingencies for the NCAA basketball tournaments, possibly moving dates and looking into creating bubbles in which the teams can compete.

He said the NCAA would prioritize staging championships in winter and spring sports because those — including the lucrative men's basketball tournament — were canceled when COVID-19 first spiked across the United States in March.

Moving fall sports to the spring still must go through the Division I Council, which is comprised of representatives of all 32 conferences, and be approved by the DI Board of Directors.

Championship events in all sports could be modified going forward to deal with COVID-19, Emmert said. That is likely to include fewer teams participating at fewer and predetermined sites.

The spring calendar already features more sports than the fall so cramming still more in, including FCS football, will create logistical challenges.