On Wednesday, the NCAA announced the cancellation of all Division III fall sports championships for 2020-21 due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
The Division III Presidents Council cited "administrative and financial challenges" related to the pandemic for the decision.
In the official statement, Tori Murden McClure, chair of the Presidents Council and president at Spalding, said:
“Looking at the health and safety challenges we face this fall during this unprecedented time, we had to make this tough decision to cancel championships for fall sports this academic year in the best interest of our student-athlete and member institutions. Our Championships Committee reviewed the financial and logistical ramifications if Division III fall sports championships were conducted in the spring and found it was logistically untenable and financially prohibitive. Our Management Council reached the same conclusion. Moving forward, we will try to maximize the championships experience for our winter and spring sport student-athletes, who unfortunately were short-changed last academic year."
Unlike the top-tier conferences of college sports, schools in smaller divisions don't benefit from massive media-rights deals. For those institutions, risks combined with added financial costs of attempting to hold seasons during the uncontrolled virus outbreak made Wednesday's full cancellation an inevitable choice.
Per ESPN's Kyle Bonagura, other divisions must decide on fall championships by the end of Aug. 21. No divisions will hold fall championships if at least 50% of eligible teams cancel seasons.