FAIRMONT — At the NCAA Division II level, you can expect the upcoming sports season to look a bit different in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the 2020-21 academic year only, the minimum number of contests required in Division II for sport sponsorship and championships selection, as well as the maximum number of contests and dates of competition allowed, will be smaller than in years past as a result of financial impacts from COVID-19, according to a press release from the NCAA.
The Division II Presidents Council made the decision during a teleconference Tuesday, approving reductions in all three categories for the upcoming season. The minimum number of contests needed for sport sponsorship and championships selection will be reduced by 33%, with rowing being the lone exception. There will also be a one-year reduction of the maximum number of contests and dates of competition, which will vary by sport, based on results from a survey administered to presidents and chancellors, directors of athletics and conference commissioners.
On Wednesday, members of various coaching staffs at Division 2 institution Fairmont State reacted to the decision, and how they believe it will affect scheduling, game play and postseason selection.
“I think everybody is going to be a bit frustrated with the fact they won’t be able to get their full schedules in. I think it affects the seniors more than anybody. But I keep reminding them of the situation we’re in and that we have to be flexible. It could be worse — we could be those baseball or softball seniors who lost out on their entire senior season,” said Brandon Heembrock, Fairmont State women’s soccer head coach.
“I think a bigger loss for us is missing the spring training, but hopefully the conference will find a way for us to play our maximum schedule. It’s just dealing with the situation and making the best out of it. We just have to follow the rules and understand we have to be flexible.”