The 2020 NCAA Fall Sports Championships have been canceled due to concerns about COVID-19, the organization announced on Aug. 5. This follows both the 2020 NCAA Winter Championships and the 2020 NCAA Spring Championships being canceled due to the same concerns.
This came after the GLVC’s July 27 announcement, that Football, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer and Volleyball would be moved to the spring season to compete, while the other fall sports would be permitted to compete on schedule by the discretion of each university. Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Young said that the GLVC’s decision was about safety.
“It’s definitely not the decision we were hoping for or looking for, but [was] completely understandable,” Young said. “[It] provided us [with] the best opportunity to keep our campus community safe, not just the University of Indianapolis, but also the other campuses and communities within our conference.”
Young said that the cancellation by the NCAA is intended to keep student-athletes around the country safe.
“When you have to look at the whole grand scheme of things of, how much do you allow the student-athletes to do daily and then how much COVID[-19] testing does that require? Is that feasible from an institutional standpoint?,” Young said. “Is that a good decision when you were starting to see a lack of testing becoming available in our country, and in our community? So [we are] making sure that the decisions we make, while they’re very difficult decisions, [are] we’re making the decisions that are best for the long term of the University of Indianapolis, [and] best for the health and safety of our student-athletes?”
The NCAA announced that student-athletes would retain their eligibility if their team completes 50% or less of their scheduled competitions. Young said that scholarships are going to be a challenging discussion for both coaches and for student-athletes in their choice to return or not.
“Unfortunately, I feel like that’s going to put our coaches in tough places sometimes to have those conversations,” Young said. “Do you bring someone back for an additional year and not bring in one of your incoming recruits and then just try that balancing equation?”
With four fall sports being moved to the spring to compete, Young said it is going to be very difficult to figure out how that will work and that it is the job of the UIndy Athletics Administration to solve the issue and not the coaches. He said that they are going to be creative and do everything they can to allow fall and spring sports to coincide with each other during the spring season.
Head Football Coach Chris Keevers said that football being moved was not a surprise to him. He said that the focus of the team is making a new plan and working to become a better football team. Keevers said he wants the team to lead by example for the campus.
“We want our kids to be role models for the social distancing, for all the protocols, for wearing a mask,” Keevers said. “I want our kids to show our community how badly we want to play by being role models. If it’s wearing our masks, it’s with not going to all the parties, staying away from big groups, by being six feet apart and slowing our social life down so we can play in the spring.”
Young said that they are working with each sport to find out what is going to work for them. He said every sport is different and putting everyone on the same plan would not work. Young said it is the caliber of the coaches at UIndy that is going to give the Hounds an advantage. .
“The fortunate thing is that the University of Indianapolis… [has] great coaches and they’re going to be able to be really creative, and they’re going to be able to help their student-athletes get better, and I think that’s a luxury,” Young said. “I think when the springtime rolls around, I think we’re going to be at a huge advantage just because of the great people we have here at the University of Indianapolis.”
Young said that he is doing his best to absorb as much information as he can and trying to relay as much useful information to the community as possible. He said that the information is changing rapidly and it makes it tough to get out the correct information. However that through everything the goal of UIndy Athletics has not changed Young said.
“I think the message is that the priorities of our program… will remain the same,” Young said. “We will always focus on winning in the classroom, winning as students, winning as people and winning as athletes. No matter what’s placed in front of us, those expectations and those standards will never change.”