NCAA D-II pulls plug on fall championships

UH-Hilo volleyball’s team and the other Vulcans’ fall sports program’s that were postponed will focus solely on PacWest championships when they reconvene.

If that wasn’t official already it became so Wednesday when the NCAA Division II presidents council canceled fall sports championships and determined they will not be made up in the spring.

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The PacWest announced July 24 that it was pushing back fall sports until the spring, and the UHH programs that were affected along with volleyball – men’s and women’s soccer and women’s cross-country – could have at least held out some hope that the NCAA would follow suit until Wednesday’s decision.

Instead of making a broad decision across three divisions, the NCAA Board of Governors set parameters for each to make its own call.

As of Wednesday, 11 of the 23 Division II conferences had announced they will not compete during the traditional fall season, an NCAA release said. 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, and it determined “that it was not feasible to hold fall championships as planned or to postpone them to the spring while prioritizing the health and well-being of student-athletes,” a release said.

If UHH athletes in fall sports are able to take take the field in the spring, it likely will be limited to a Hawaii pod consisting of the Vulcans, Hawaii Pacific and Chaminade. The NCAA already had announced that student-athletes will be able to retain a season of eligibility if their team completes 50% or fewer of their of sport’s previously mandated maximum contests/dates of competition.

“This decision was discussed very thoroughly, and I assure you, it was not made lightly. It is important to note that fall student-athletes will be given eligibility-related flexibility to allow them championship opportunities in the future,” Sandra Jordan, chancellor of South Carolina Aiken and chair of the council, said in Wednesday’s release.

The Division III council also postponed fall championships. Division I is a far different story.

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According to the Associated Press, when the board considered pulling the plug on fall championships last month, conference leaders throughout all of Division I pushed back. There was even discussion among the most powerful conferences that they could stage their own championship events without the NCAA.

The NCAA has little, if any, control over the highest tier of Division I football, where the Big Ten, Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference and Pac-12 compete as the other Power Five conferences. Those leagues along with the five other FBS conferences have methodically put plans in place to play a season that will be worth billions in revenue — most of it landing in the Power Five.

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