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Covid Impacts on Fall 2020 athletics

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PlaySimple:
Ithaca College has stated that the fall calendar will start on October 5.

The plans for athletics seems to be a bit in limbo. From the Ithaca College website:

"I also know many of you will have questions about our athletics programs this fall. Please be assured that our athletics department staff, sports medicine staff, and the director of medicine for IC are working collaboratively to determine a plan and process to re-engage in intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports, and that IC will continue to follow NCAA, NATA, and Liberty League guidelines."

https://www.ithaca.edu/news/college-plans-fall-opening

While D3 athletes are obviously not affected by athletic aid, there will be some interesting implications for spring athletes that missed this past season and, as we get further along in the summer and if it is deemed necessary to cancel the fall sports, the fall athletes that will be affected. If there are some schools that cancel fall seasons while other do not, will this spur transfers? I believe that is going to be a lot more common occurence for the D1, D2, and NAIA athletes, though, as they can receive athletic aid.

I posted some of below on another forum and while it mostly pertains to D1 athletes, there might be some D3 athletes that are also affected. It repeats some of what I already mentioned.

Athletes at all schools and in all divisions that had their seasons canceled this past spring should have another season of eligibility. Some of those athletes are seniors that graduated and may be starting graduate school at another institution. If the graduate program that those athletes are pursing will give them the time to also participate in athletics, I would assume that some would do so. I see that same scenario playing out this upcoming year if athletes get their fall seasons canceled. There will also be a lot of spring sport athletes that will be graduating in the coming years that are going to have another season of eligibility when they graduate.

There have also been a lot of schools that have announced that programs are being cut. Women's soccer has been largely spared but there are men's soccer programs that have been cut, baseball, track and field, cross country, etc. Many of the athletes at those schools, particularly if they're freshmen and sophomores, will be looking at transferring. I'm not sure if the coaches of various sports will be licking their chops with the possible influx of unexpected athletes or if they'll be overwhelmed and confused. This is also going to be confusing for the athletes themselves in deciding what they should do. I see recruiting becoming very different in the coming years with a lot of new dynamics to consider.

Lastly, I can see more and more schools decide that athletics is just not that important and there will be the elimination of sports at many schools. I happen to believe that athletics is an important part of the collegiate experience for many students and it also affords many athletes the opportunity of an education at an institution that they might not have otherwise if they were not an athlete. Look at the many student athletes that are attending some of the Ivies and other Tier 1 schools in all divisions. Athletics opened the door of those schools for many athletes.

There are effects of Covid being felt throughout the collegiate athletic landscape. Many schools, primarily D1 institutions, have cut some sports. The California Collegiate Athletic Association, a D2 conference, has suspended all fall sports. Note that the word suspension is being used. This, to me, implies a delayed beginning to the season is being planned. Everything is dynamic, though, and I expect to see a lot more changes as we get later into the summer months and closer to the fall.

Stryker:
I didn't reply on that other blog since it's focus is more related to D-1 and D-2 schools.  No doubt that Covid has placed all programs into uncertainty, especially with schools opening on different dates (like Ithaca) or possibly staying online for the fall. I will take the NCAA President at his word when he says that they will not jeopardize athletes by letting them to return to campus to compete when the campus is not open to other students for academics. So I do think that there is still a risk that there will be no fall season. Plus, if they play, I wonder what the NCAA policy will be when some regions are willing to play since they have low infection and death rates while other regions are still suffering from high rates of infection. If only some of the conferences re-open and play, how does that impact the NCAA tournament? Sure they would hold it but how competitive will it really be.

However, to get back to your comment, unlike D-1 or D-2, I do not think that it will generate many, if any, transfers at the D-3 level. D-3 by its nature is more focused on academics. While seniors may fear the loss of their final season, there is little incentive to jeopardize completion of their degree programs by transferring just to play a final year of soccer.  I know my daughter (who is hard core when it comes to soccer) would be heartbroken to lose her final season but would never consider changing schools. Fortunately for her, she is in a five year engineering program so she has some flexibility if she loses this season.

The Covid impact on the D-3 school's schedule will be less dramatic than D-1 teams since most D-3 tends to play regionally and require less travel.  Yes, if they proceed with the fall season, some schools may need to change their schedules to either cancel games for schools that elect not to play sports this fall and/or to add replacement games with other schools in their region. But that is doable. 

The real issue for the future if they cancel is the balancing of returning players who do have the flexibility to play an additional year vs a newly recruited freshman class. Certainly freshman would have to consider how their playing time would be affected when considering the school that they will commit to. (yes, not every freshman gets much playing time so it will really only affect the top players). But fortunately, D-3 doesn't have the added problem of dividing athletic scholarship money among the added players.

Playing in the Covid era will be interesting, to say the least.

PlaySimple:

--- Quote from: Stryker on May 27, 2020, 01:17:23 pm ---
However, to get back to your comment, unlike D-1 or D-2, I do not think that it will generate many, if any, transfers at the D-3 level. D-3 by its nature is more focused on academics. While seniors may fear the loss of their final season, there is little incentive to jeopardize completion of their degree programs by transferring just to play a final year of soccer.

--- End quote ---

I certainly agree with ^. Most D3 athletes that I know certainly love their schools and the school itself and the strength of the academic programs had more of a factor in school selection than athletics did. That said, I think that it is feasible that if an athlete graduates with a year of eligibility remaining and attend graduate school at another institution, or at their current institution provided that it has graduate programs, they could play another year of a sport. There are some graduate programs that are too demanding and would not allow an athlete do do this but it is conceivable. Additionally, while it doesn't happen often, I've known athletes that graduated from a D3 school with athletic eligibility remaining and attended graduate school at a D1 school and played at the D1 school. It is rare but it has happened.

Stryker:
Your point is well taken.  It definitely seems that some athletes will graduate with eligibility.

I got some perspective last night from my daughter when she raised the possibility of red-shirting this upcoming season, since she is in a 5 year program. Apparently her coach walked the team through several possible scenarios and sought feedback from the players on how they would respond. The possibility of a limited game schedule of 8-10 games, no league playoffs and maybe even no NCAA tournament seemed to cause a large number of players to question whether they would play this season under those circumstances. Enough players that, if they followed through, the school would have difficulty fielding a team. Which would add to the number of athletes graduating with eligibility.

My daughter is determined to get her team back to the NCAA's and to pursue a National Championship. So the thought of using a year of eligibility for a shortened season with a possibly reduced roster with no NCAA tournament has her considering the option of red-shirting. Of course, she won't have to make that decision until the school's plans for return to campus and the athletic season become more certain. I just was caught off guard that she was even contemplating that option.

Dave 'd-mac' McHugh:
FYI: http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/division-iii-increases-length-fall-sports-preseasons

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