NCAA’s Division II, Division III fall championships canceled

Sport

College football won’t take place at the lower levels this fall, creating a question about what will happen at the FBS and FBC levels. UConn on Wednesday became the first FBS program to suspend its football team because of the pandemic.

The Division II Presidents Council canceled its seven fall championships for 2020, citing “the operational, logistical and financial challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Eleven of 23 Division II conferences already had announced the cancellation or postponement of the fall season.

The Division III Presidents Council announced the same decision earlier Wednesday.

The NCAA on Wednesday set an Aug. 21 deadline for final decisions on whether it will have fall sports seasons and national championships at any level this year.

The NCAA Board of Governors, though, only has the authority to suspend NCAA championships, not the FBS postseason. The 10 FBS conferences control the College Football Playoff.

Sports Illustrated has reported the Power 5 conferences are exploring the possibility of staging their own championships in case the NCAA Board of Governors decides to cancel or postpone fall sports.

The Power 5 conferences already announced changes to their football schedules. The SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten plan a 10-game conference-only football schedule. The ACC will play 10 conference games and one non-conference matchup, while the Big 12 will schedule nine conference games and one non-conference game.

The NCAA also announced requirements for schools to establish a hotline for COVID-19 violations. In addition, all student-athletes who opt out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns will have their athletic scholarships honored.

A few Division I players, notably Illinois running back Ra’Von Bonner, Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley and Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman, have announced they are opting out of playing.