411OnTheForty: No NCAA postseason for volleyball, soccer, cross country

13 Aug By
The NCAA announced that fall sports other than FBS football will not have national championships at the end of the seasons (photos courtesy of texassports.com / graphic by Horns Illustrated).

There will be no NCAA postseason for fall sports in 2020.

The tough decision was made today by the NCAA, with NCAA President Mark Emmert simply stating, "We cannot, at this point have fall NCAA Championships, because there's not enough schools participating."

It was an announcement that had been anticipated in the next few weeks. The trickle-down effect began with multiple Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences, including the SEC, Big 10, Pac-12 and ACC, each of which has announced plans to adopt a conference-only football schedule, making the Big 12 the only Power 5 conference that did not follow suit. Then came the cancellation of fall sports Tuesday by the Big 10 and Pac-12, as well as the Big 12's choice to limit soccer and volleyball to a conference-only slate.

As a result, UT's volleyball, soccer and cross country teams will not be competing for the national title this fall, making the Big 12 championships each team's ultimate goal.

The four-team college football playoff remains scheduled.

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"We can't in any Division I NCAA sport have a championship," Emmert said, "other than FBS football."

There are multiple reasons for the decision, including the fact that more than 50 percent of the playoff-eligible teams in each fall sport have cancelled or postponed their seasons until the spring. Last week the NCAA announced that if more than 50 percent of playoff-eligible teams decided to cancel their 2020 seasons, the fall championships would be cancelled. Due in part to the Big 10, Mountain West and Pac-12 deciding to move fall sports seasons to the spring, a large number of the nation's top programs would have been left out of contention for the national title.

There is still hope for the fall championships during this school year, though. In a statement released Thursday, Emmert said he is open to the possibility of holding these championship events in the spring, especially if the Big 10 and Pac-12 return to action. That might help teams in conferences that already have cancelled or postponed fall sports; what that means for teams like Texas, playing in a conference slate during the typical fall season and then ineligible for the NCAA tournament come spring has yet to be worked out.

"There are ways to do this. I'm confident we can figure this out," said Emmert Thursday evening on Twitter.

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Riley Zayas is a high school freshman and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, his personal blog 360 Sports, and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website.