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Covid-19 and Buff Olympic sports (Pac 12 announces soccer and volleyball regular seasons will be conference play only)

AztecBuff

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As noted in a football thread, the Pac 12 has just announced that most fall sports are going to a conference match/ game only plan for the coming year (of course with a big IF competition can happen at all).

Of course I don't know if ANYONE really knows WHAT the frick is happening, and whether ANYTHING will be able to really be competed this fall, or even this coming academic year, but did anyways want to include some musings below assuming a "best case scenario". (Admittedly I'm driven by a hunger to see the beloved Buffs compete in ANY sport, but of course also don't want the players, coaches or staff to risk their health for my entertainment.)

1st, for when we might hear our next news from the conference, the end of the announcement quoted below says- "Details on Conference-only schedules will be announced no later than July 31."

Of note for the Olympic sports is that the announcement below does not even mention one Buff fall sport, cross country, at all. As a non-contact individual sport that typically doesn't have its 1st meaningful races until early October anyways, where a lot of the training can I assume be done relatively normally while social distancing, and typically only has 4-5 significant races a season, I'm GUESSING it may have been felt the Conference has time to decide what to do with that sport as the virus news/ situation develops without announcing any changes right now. (Assume we might hear something about that sport's plans by July 31st?)

On the team sport side, will be interesting to see WHAT might end up being scheduled. I've been GUESSING that these conference-only competition announcement(s) by the Big and Pac were mainly just a "clean" and simple way to delay the overall season a month or so (until very late in September or early October) to see if things improved, and that there may just be the normal number of conference matches. IF they did want to increase the number of conference competitions-
  • Soccer already had a largely*** natural type conference schedule where they play each other Pac school once each season. However, without non-conference, it will lose the largest % of its total matches/ games of any sport if there's only conference play and no conference matches are added, as last season 9 (or 45%) of its 20 total regular season matches were non-conference. (They also played 2 post-season NCAA tournament matches. ***Due to the odd number of conference foes, every Pac team always has one more or less HOME match in any individual season.)

  • volleyball could pretty easily add a couple conference matches to its schedule IF conditions allow, as the normal Pac 12 schedule is typically slightly uneven, with the Pac 12 teams always playing 2 conference foes only one each season, while they play the remaining 9 teams twice. Even with a normal schedule, though, more of volleyball's schedule is typically within the conference (at least compared to soccer), with only 10 (or 33%) of the Buffs' 30 matches last season being non-conference.
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Anyways, for reference, here is the Pac 12 announcement-


Direct link to announcement - https://pac-12.com/article/2020/07/...on-schedule-conference-only-play-several-fall

Quoting the full (non-boilerplate part of the) announcement -

"
SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 CEO Group announced today that the fall season for several Pac-12 sports, including football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, would schedule Conference-only games, and that it is delaying the start of mandatory athletic activities, until a series of health and safety indicators, which have recently trended in a negative direction, provided sufficient positive data to enable a move to a second phase of return-to-play activities. The CEO Group made clear that it hopes to play football and all other fall sports provided that it can meet the health and safety needs of its student-athletes and obtain appropriate permissions from state and local health authorities. Today’s decision will result in the start dates for the impacted sports being delayed. The decision is effective immediately across all Pac-12 member universities and was made following a meeting of the Pac-12 CEO Group earlier today.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports continues to be our number one priority,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Our decisions have and will be guided by science and data, and based upon the trends and indicators over the past days, it has become clear that we need to provide ourselves with maximum flexibility to schedule, and to delay any movement to the next phase of return-to-play activities.”

"Competitive sports are an integral part of the educational experience for our student-athletes, and we will do everything that we can to support them in achieving their dreams while at the same time ensuring that their health and safety is at the forefront,” said Michael Schill, Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and President of the University of Oregon.

Pac-12 student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics during the coming academic year because of safety concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with their team.

The Pac-12 has developed a series of potential fall sport scheduling models including Conference-only schedules and delayed season starts. Details on Conference-only schedules will be announced no later than July 31.
...
"
 

buffgal

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When the B1G announced conference only games for fall sports, that meant the B1G/Pac 12 Challenge in volleyball will not happen.
 

buffgal

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That is my thinking also.

Iowa plays softball and baseball during the summer in high school. So many teams have had to quarantine for 14 days. Now they are to the playoffs and the #1 ranked baseball team is out due to covid. Softball and baseball are played outdoors and not much of a contact sport. High 5'ing was banned and it's spread all over the state through fans and players.

I don't see how indoor sports can be played.
 

AztecBuff

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Doesn't directly matter for football (since it's a non-football conference), so decided to note here the Big East joins the conferences announcing they're not having (regular season) non-conference competition this year for its fall sports.


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EDIT-
Also- I assume the NCAA won't act based on what Junior Colleges decide, but did think it's interesting that the JC's did already announce they're moving all sports EXCEPT for cross country until spring. Therefore, I assume there could be a scenario where it's also decided by the NCAA (assume based on the nature of XC competition) that MIGHT allow cross country to compete this fall even if other sports do not. (Of course, I'm GUESSING this assumes there is progress with the virus overall, which doesn't seem to be happening right now.)

 
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AztecBuff

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Included in today's release (https://pac-12.com/article/2020/07/...football_schedule_release&utm_content=Article) that largely covered the updated Pac 12 conference-only football schedule, there was also general scheduling news for all 3 of the Olympic sports -

"
Men’s & women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s & women’s cross-country

The Pac-12 CEO Group also approved Conference-only scheduling plans for men’s & women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s & women’s cross country, with competition to start no earlier than the weekend of September 26. The first permissible date of practice for these Conference-sponsored sports will be August 15. In all cases the Conference-only schedules to be developed will be designed to support health and safety, and maximize flexibility.
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(Assume this might mean we hopefully get detailed schedules soon?!?!.)
 

AztecBuff

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No input from Buff Coach Mahoney (and not much enlightening to me), but Volleyball Mag has released an article with quite a few quotes and perspectives from a few of the Pac 12 volleyball coaches.


Direct link to article -
 

hokiehead

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anyone know if Olympic sports will have fans? average attendance at VB pre-Covid would certainly allow for social distancing at the Events Center.
 

AztecBuff

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Sorry for cross-posting (I also put in in a football thread), but since at least two Olympic sports (indoor track and skiing) are directly affected, and it changes WHEN fall sports might start their postponed seasons, wanted to note that, per the below tweet, no Pac 12 seasons will begin prior to January 1st.

 
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AztecBuff

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Assume it's pretty academic at this point and is pretty much sure to occur, but one thing to look for in the news over the next week or so related to the fall sports - per the below and a couple other things I've seen, the NCAA earlier set up rules that any NCAA Championships for individual sports will be automatically cancelled/ postponed once 50% of schools (through their conferences) announce they've decided to cancel or postpone their seasons. That point hasn't been reached yet, but per the below it will only take another couple conferences to announce postponement/ cancellation before that 50% point (at least for cross country) is reached.
(Again, the below is specifically about cross country, but assume it may be a similar story for the other Olympic sports.)

 
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AztecBuff

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I seem to be doing a lot of cross posting the last day or two, but since it obviously directly affects the Olympic Sports, here are ALL the rules that the NCAA announced a week ago related to Covid-19 for the fall sports. (I already posted the below awhile ago in a football thread.) This includes the 50% requirement I posted about above (I bolded and colored the 50% part), as well as many others things that may (???) end up being important over the coming months/ year:


Direct link to NCAA release - http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources...hlete-well-being-scholarships-and-eligibility

"
The NCAA Board of Governors has directed schools and conferences to meet specific requirements if they are to conduct NCAA fall sports during the preseason, regular season and postseason. Further, each division is directed to determine its ability to meet those requirements to conduct fall championships.
...

The requirements include:

  • All fall sports activity (preseason, regular season and postseason) must follow the recently released return-to-sport guidelines from the NCAA Sport Science Institute for all athletic activity. As the guidelines change based on the ever-changing pandemic, schools must follow any future modifications.
  • The NCAA will establish a phone number and email to allow college athletes, parents or others to report alleged failures. The Association will notify school and conference administrators, who will be expected to take immediate action.
  • All member schools must adhere to federal, state and local guidelines related to COVID-19. Further, the conduct of NCAA championships must be in line with federal, state and local guidelines.
  • All student-athletes must be allowed to opt out of participation due to concerns about contracting COVID-19. If a college athlete chooses to opt out, that individual’s athletics scholarship commitment must be honored by the college or university.
  • Each division must determine no later than Aug. 14 the eligibility accommodations that must be made for student-athletes who opt out of participating this fall or for those whose seasons are canceled or cut short due to COVID-19. College athletes and their families must know what their eligibility status will be before beginning the fall season.
  • Member schools may not require student-athletes to waive their legal rights regarding COVID-19 as a condition of athletics participation.
  • Member schools, in conjunction with existing insurance standards, must cover COVID-19 related medical expenses for student-athletes to prevent out-of-pocket expenses for college athletes and their families.
  • Any NCAA fall championship or other postseason contests must be conducted within enhanced safety protocols for student-athletes and essential athletics personnel. These safety enhancements will include regular testing, separation of college athletes and essential personnel from all other nonessential personnel, and physical distancing and masking policies during all aspects of noncompetition.
  • NCAA championships may use reduced bracketing, a reduced number of competitors, predetermined sites and, where appropriate, single sites to limit exposure to COVID-19.
  • If 50% or more of eligible teams in a particular sport in a division cancel their fall season, there will be no fall NCAA championship in that sport in that division.
  • If fall sports championships are postponed in any division, a decision to conduct that championship at a later date will be based upon the scientific data available at that time regarding COVID-19, along with other considerations.
The divisions must determine by Aug. 21 whether their respective fall sports seasons and NCAA championships should occur this year. All three divisions must follow their governance processes in making decisions.
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"
 

AztecBuff

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No real surprise, but it looks like all the Olympic sports (I didn't find anything specifically about soccer, but would be 99.9999% sure roughly the same numbers apply for that sport), at least based on the 50% criteria the NCAA set up, have now reached the point where there will be no fall championships. (As noted below for both sports specifically covered, the "WAC, Big Sky, and Southland" conferences postponing this morning have really tipped the scales towards postponement.):

  • Per a volleytalk thread (https://volleytalk.proboards.com/thread/81782/thursday-aug-ncaa-update-205) recently started by a volleyballmag.com person, there are now 203 teams that, through their conferences or individual decision, have postponed the planned fall seasons, with only 131 who are in conferences which either haven't announced anything or have said they're still going ahead with fall competition.

  • Per the below tweet by a Flotrack.org person, cross country has also easily met the 50% criteria.
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May just be a hypothetical as other conferences either just haven't announced or may need to re-think their current "let's still play" stance, but it will be interesting to see what this might mean for the top conferences and schools (ACC, SEC, Big 12, etc.) that still might end up playing. Just to name a few off the top of my head, it would be a bummer if typical title contenders and/ or past champions like North Carolina, FSU (in women's soccer), Texas and Florida (volleyball) and BYU and NC State (cross country) are not included in the championships next spring (of course assuming situations change and there can even be seasons and championships then).
 

AztecBuff

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Saw some of this info already posted in a football thread, but also wanted it here since, IF it's passed, it obviously will affect fall Olympic sport athletes as well.


Article about this - https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nc...-resolve-key-eligibility-question/ar-BB18aioG

Quoting parts of the article-

"
...
Later on Wednesday evening, the NCAA issued a release with the outcomes from the Division I Council meeting, including:

Members also recommended the board give all fall sport student-athletes both an additional year of eligibility and an additional year in which to complete it, a recommendation that is even more flexible than what it endorsed last week.
..

In addition, the council voted to prohibit schools from having athletes sign COVID-19 waivers to participate in competition and to prohibit canceling or reducing aid for athletes who opt out. Schools are also required to review current insurance coverage for athletes in fall sports, as well as several other requirements.
...

As a result of this vote, the NCAA will also have to decide how much to change overall scholarship allotments. The most likely solution will probably look similar to the vote to allow seniors on baseball rosters in 2020 to not count against the scholarship allotment next year.
"

Full NCAA release - http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources...cil-recommends-fall-championships-move-spring
 
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AztecBuff

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Hadn't been keeping track, but wanted to mention that, thanks to a post by volleyballmag in Volleytalk (https://volleytalk.proboards.com/thread/81848/conferences-left-aac-moves-spring), the AAC (American Athletic Conference) just became the latest conference to announce its fall team sports' (except for football***) seasons are being moved to the spring.

Per an ESPN article (https://www.espn.com/college-sports...ference-moves-non-football-fall-sports-spring), cross country hasn't been decided yet "pending further NCAA clarification.", but soccer and volleyball are the 2 sports included in the AAC postponement. (***It also says the AAC still " plans to move forward with football in the fall".)

Per the volleyballmag article, that leaves only 4 conferences ("the ACC, Big 12, SEC, and Sun Belt") that may still play or plans to play volleyball this fall. (Don't know for sure, but assume it would at minimum also apply to soccer as far as "Olympic" team sports go?)

Link to volleyballmag.com article on the AAC postponing its volleyball season - https://volleyballmag.com/american-athletic-volleyball-082520/
 

AztecBuff

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Wanted to note a couple of fall sports the Buffs are involved in, cross country and soccer, have now had their management groups evidently come up with general proposed schedules. (Of course, in these Covid times, I am always assuming all plans are "in penci"l; NOTHING'S definitive until the athletes are actually competing.)

• For cross country (per Flotrack) - https://www.flotrack.org/articles/6778451-ncaa-oversight-committee-recommends-march-xc-champs (Championships would be on March 15th, so would make CC a winter sport, which could be interesting, especially in the snowy/ cold regions. I think I also read somewhere that distance/ middle distance runners (and/ or their programs???) would have to decide whether to compete in CC or indoor track, which usually also end in mid-March.)

• For soccer (per topdrawersoccer) - https://www.topdrawersoccer.com/col...osed-schedule-for-ncaa-soccer-season_aid48496 ("The first date for games would be February 3 and the regular season would conclude on April 24. The NCAA Tournament would start on April 30 and the Championship would be held between May 13-17." The article also notes the NCAA tournament field would be reduced by 25%, so only 48 teams would be selected, meaning only 18 at-large teams after the 31 conference champion auto-qualifiers are taken into account.)

Note- I haven't seen any specifics for volleyball yet, but sounds like, per a volleytalk thread (https://volleytalk.proboards.com/thread/81944/16-di-council-spring-wvb?page=1), their schedule might (???) be held in a similar period of time as soccer. (Be interesting to see if their tournament size is also reduced to 48.)

Note 2- Both the cross country article and volleytalk thread are noting there's an important NCAA D1 Council meeting next Wednesday (9/16) which could give approval to the above plans (if they don't decided on something else). (Assume that the Council's approval or recommendations then still need to go to the NCAA Board of Governors for final approval.)
 

AztecBuff

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I have heard of some other colleges cutting or proposing to cut programs, but wanted to note that, per thestridereport, looks like Minnesota could be the 1st Power 5 school (at least I’ve heard of) that is cutting (in their case, men's track and field, gymnastics and tennis, after this academic year)
(EDIT - I'd blanked out that Stanford had already cut some sports earlier this summer. Also, I saw in a tweet Iowa has also cut some recently.?.)


Direct link to article - https://www.thestridereport.com/pos...or-track-following-completion-of-2020-21-year
 

Bmixer

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as a cynical person, I wonder if these teams are cutting these sports so they can put more money towards football. Iowa said they could be facing a 60 million short fall and that the sports cut cost about 5 million a year combined. that is not really doing anything to the deficit by cutting them. I think they wanted to cut them earlier and Covid game them a chance without getting a ton of bad press
 

buffgal

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as a cynical person, I wonder if these teams are cutting these sports so they can put more money towards football. Iowa said they could be facing a 60 million short fall and that the sports cut cost about 5 million a year combined. that is not really doing anything to the deficit by cutting them. I think they wanted to cut them earlier and Covid game them a chance without getting a ton of bad press
I think this is true. They also have a 10 year old natatorium. They were scheduled to host the NCAA swimming and diving championships in March of 2021.

Even though the AD has said no appeals will bring the sports back, parents have been fund raising to try to get the sports returned.

There is a list of schools that have cut sports at https://tinyurl.com/yyk7228x . In Division I, it's definitely sports that do not draw fans and cost money.
 

Bmixer

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It will be interesting to see if any of these sports come back but I do not think so. Rough time for college athletes right now
 

hokiehead

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I think this is true. They also have a 10 year old natatorium. They were scheduled to host the NCAA swimming and diving championships in March of 2021.

Even though the AD has said no appeals will bring the sports back, parents have been fund raising to try to get the sports returned.

There is a list of schools that have cut sports at https://tinyurl.com/yyk7228x . In Division I, it's definitely sports that do not draw fans and cost money.
That link is a few months old,I think it's gotten quite a bit worse since.
 

AztecBuff

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Already posted in the football forum, but obviously applies to all sports.


(Be interesting to me to see (1) if the current November 11th signing period start date for the 2021's ends up happening, and, if it does, if there are less signed that day, and more later in 2021. (Most of the team sports seem to get most of their commits formally signed near the start of the signing period- wonder if the coaches are as set with the 2021 class this year as, say the 2020 class was last November.)
 

AztecBuff

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As I've noted previously, this will still need NCAA Board of Directors' approval, but the D1 Council has come back with proposals for re-scheduling the fall sports. (NCAA release - https://www.ncaa.com/news/ncaa/arti...championships-spring?utm_campaign=hp-rr-links ).

  • Sounds like they still don't know for sure what to do with cross country.
  • Meanwhile, looks like the soccer team and fans (if they're allowed into Prentup by then) will want to make sure their snow gear is in good shape, as the regular season starts early February.
  • And, with the NCAA tournament field for both soccer and volleyball cut from 64 to 48, it's going to be a tougher challenge than ever for teams to earn an at-large berth. (Although at this point, just getting to see Buffs compete AT ALL this academic year should be enough to make me happy,)
  • I know in Volleytalk, and maybe in the football thread, there had been some discussion what the eligibility would be for early-enrollee freshmen (coming to Boulder for the upcoming spring semester). Per the release, (maybe not including football???) they will NOT be eligible to play this upcoming season. (Quoting it - "Prohibit midyear enrollees from competing in the 2020-21 academic year.")

Quoting the release for the 3 fall Olympic sports the Buffs have, plans are as follow-

"
Cross country
The Division I men’s and women’s championships are scheduled for March 15. However, there is some concern in the membership about conducting cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field in the spring term.

The Division I Competition Oversight Committee will continue to evaluate the issue.

For now, 255 runners from each gender will compete at the cross country finals site.

Regular-season competition could be conducted Jan. 30-March 6, with championships selections on March 7.
...

Women’s soccer
Action at the finals site for the Women’s College Cup is May 13-17. The bracket will consist of 48 teams, with 31 automatic qualifiers and 17 at-large selections.

Normally, the bracket size for the women’s soccer championship is 64 teams, with four teams advancing to the finals site.

Regular-season competition can be played Feb. 3-April 24, with selections on April 25.

Women’s volleyball
The finals site of the championship is scheduled for April 23-25, with a 48-team bracket. Thirty-two of the teams will be automatic qualifiers, with 16 at-large selections.

The normal bracket size for the championship is 64 teams.

Regular-season play will span from Jan. 22-April 10, with selections April 11.
...
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