NAIA has released information on the Fall sports season for 2020

June 05, 2020 9:36am

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The NAIA on Thursday released information on the Fall sports season for 2020.

The COP (Council of Presidents) Executive Committee approved the use of a threshold system as a guideline for determining return to play. The threshold goal is for about half the participating institutions in each sport to receive clearance from local authorities to return to competition before the season can begin. For example, NAIA football has 95 participating institutions. When half (47) of these programs gain clearance from authorities to play, the NAIA football season will be authorized to begin.

The practice start date for all sports, will be Saturday, August 15. As a result, from now through August 14, any activities deemed practice by the NAIA are strictly prohibited.

Competition start dates are as follows:

All sports except football: September 5 (providing 3 weeks of practice prior to competition)

Football: September 12 (providing 4 weeks of practice prior to competition)

With the delayed start dates, there are fewer weeks to complete the season. As a result, the COP Executive Committee approved a reduction in the maximum number of contests as follows:

Cross Country: 7 meets, down from 8

Football: 9 games, down from 11

Men’s and Women’s Soccer: 14 games, down from 18

Women’s Volleyball: 22 dates, down from 28

All fall championships are planned to happen.

Finally, we know the health and safety of our student-athletes is imperative if we are to host fall sports. The national office and the COP Executive Committee are currently examining various options for health and safety protocols, including testing and screening, and will share decisions related to these areas as soon as they are made.

While our focus is currently on fall sports, we know there are already concerns related to the winter sport season. At this time, there are no planned changes for winter sports. The NAIA will begin to evaluate the possible impact of COVID-19 on the winter season and prioritize any decisions that will help institutions prepare for possible adjustments, if necessary.

The GPAC is finalizing Return to Play protocol and will release more information next week. The conference will use NAIA information in the discussions, but will make final decisions as a league for Fall 2020.