The NCAA Board of Governors will meet today to decide the fate of fall sports, and even though the FBS has its own championship outside of the organization’s structure, the decision could have huge ramifications on the future of college athletics.
This afternoon, the board will vote on whether or not to hold championships for cross country, soccer, field hockey, men’s water polo and women’s volleyball, along with lower-division football like the FCS. On July 24, they considered three options before ultimately pushing the decision off until today: holding the championships in the fall with a reduced number of competitors, postponing them to the spring, or canceling them altogether. Should they elect to cancel the championships, there’s a growing sense that Power 5 conferences will hold their own in each of the affected sports, which could be the first step towards breaking away from the NCAA. It would also help the Power 5 justify playing football this fall when the NCAA deemed other sports unsafe.
From Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde:
Multiple sources said part of the motivation for the Power 5 considering hosting its own fall Olympic sports seasons is to justify playing football, the revenue-driving sport for all athletic departments at that level. If all the other sports are canceled but football perseveres on its own, the optics would open up the schools to severe criticism. Thus, playing all fall sports would allow those schools to say that they are not uniquely subjecting football players to any risk.
Of course, the board may also push off the decision on fall championships once again, keeping us all in limbo. We’ll find out later today.