Fall season national championships for NCAA Division 1 sports took the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to cancel fall sports championships, announced by NCAA president Mark Emmert, has local impact as the 2020 Men’s College Cup, the men’s soccer national semifinals and final, was scheduled for UCSB’s Harder Stadium on Dec. 11 and 13.

John McCutcheon, director of athletics at UCSB, said even if the NCAA agrees to move the fall sports season and championships to the spring of 2021, it’s unlikely UCSB could host a rescheduled College Cup.

“If all of our fall sports are playing in the spring, our staff would be spread too thin,” he said. “I can’t envision handling all that and still hosting the championship.”

In a video conference, Emmert said he has hope the NCAA can hold a “legitimate championship” for men’s and women’s cross-country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s water polo in the winter or spring months.

For that to happen, at least half of eligible schools would need to participate in a postponed season.

Emmert said many schools have indicated they’d want to pursue that option.

“My staff has been working hard and talking to all 32 commissioners in DI and there are ways to do this,” he said. “I’m completely confident that we can figure this out.

“If schools and conferences want to move forward and more than half of them want to do it, and that’s the indication right now, let’s do it. We can use the fall to keep kids healthy, keep them engaged with their athletic departments and coaches, focus on their academics, work with them, let them practice and then let them compete at that time.” 

There is caveat, though.

Emmert said when rescheduling fall championships, priority must be placed on winter and spring sports which lost their post-season competitions and regular seasons because of the pandemic.

He mentioned the possibility of holding championships in bubble-like environments like the NBA and NHL, with games at predetermined sites that reduce travel.

“There’s a way to do it,” Emmert said. “Will it be normal? Of course not. You’ll be playing fall sports in the spring. Will it create other conflicts and challenges? Of course. But is it doable? Yeah, it is doable. And we want to do that. We want to make it work for these students.”

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.