The NCAA football oversight committee is asking the association’s Board of Governors to avoid making a decision soon on whether to conduct fall championships as college sports tries to find a path to play through the pandemic.
A letter dated July 21 was sent by committee chairman Shane Lyons, the West Virginia athletic director, to the board before it meets Friday. The letter was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press and first reported on by Yahoo Sports.
“We acknowledge that the path forward will be challenging, and that the virus may ultimately dictate outcomes,” the letter says. “We are simply requesting that the Board of Governors not make an immediate decision on the outcome of fall championships, so that conferences and schools may have ample latitude to continue to evaluate the viability of playing football this fall.”
College sports leaders have warned if conditions across the country did not improve, football and other fall sports will be in jeopardy.
“I get asked every day if college sports will return this fall. The consensus opinion among our health advisers is significant change must occur for that to happen,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said Wednesday while testifying during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing mainly focused on how to allow college athletes to earn money from their names, images and likenesses.
The board is the NCAA's highest-ranking governing body, comprised mostly of university presidents representing all three divisions of its nearly 1,300 member schools. Its next official meeting is scheduled for Aug. 4 and Friday's session is ad hoc.
The board has the power to call off NCAA championship events in fall sports such as soccer, women’s volleyball and lower-division football, including the second tier of Division I known as the Championship Subdivision.
Five FCS conferences have already postponed their football seasons, though among them the Ivy League, Southwestern Athletic Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference do not participate in the playoffs.