Besides setting the start date for the NCAA basketball season, the NCAA DI Council on Wednesday also made recommendations on the championship schedule for the remaining fall sports that have been postponed. They recommended that all fall sports championships take place in the spring, but at just 75% capacity of usual. These recommendations will need to be approved by the full NCAA Division I Board of Directors to be put into place. For the Minnesota Golden Gophers, these changes will affect four sports—men’s and women’s cross-country, women’s soccer and volleyball.
Volleyball is the sport that the NCAA Tournament chances will be the most pertinent to the Gophers. Minnesota is obviously a DI powerhouse and would be expected to once again compete for a Big Ten title and earn an NCAA Tournament berth. With these changes that now becomes a bit tougher, but still should not be a problem for the Gophers.
The NCAA DI Council recommended that the volleyball regular season take place between January 22 and April 10th with the NCAA Tournament selections announced in April 11th. Instead of a standard 64 team field, the NCAA Tournament would be just 48 teams, with 32 automatic berths from the various conferences and just 16 at-large bids. The Final Four would take place Between April 23rd and 25th.
For women’s soccer the proposed season would take place between February 3rd and April 24th. The standard 64 team NCAA Tournament field would be cut to 48 with 31 automatic berths and 17 at large bids. The Women’s College Cup would take place Between May 13th and May 17th.
Cross-country is where things get tricky. The current schedule is to have the NCAA Championships meet occur on March 15th. However, some schools are worried about having cross-country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field all occur in the spring. The NCAA will contine to look into the issue but as of now a propose regular season schedule of between January 30th and March 6 is proposed.
Obviously with these spring schedules the Gopher soccer and cross-country teams would need to try and find alternate home facilities. The soccer team may be able to find domes facilities around the Twin Cities to use for home games, but it is unknown what exactly the cross-country teams will do.
More details will emerge in the near future at least in regards to Big Ten competition as announced in the football return press release on Wednesday.