Ithaca College’s first fall sports practice will not be held Aug. 10 despite the NCAA Division III Administrative Committee’s decision on the matter.
The committee announced June 11 that the first practice date for the upcoming 2020–21 season for all Division III fall sports will be Aug. 10 or the first day of classes, based on whichever is soonest. Susan Bassett, associate vice president and director of the Office of Intercollegiate Athletics, said that the college’s first fall practice date is yet to be determined but that the college is still working to provide a safe plan for athletics to begin.
“The NCAA’s decision of the fall season to start early is an important adjustment that provides membership discretion on when to phase in the return of their student-athletes,” Bassett said. “At this point, Ithaca College is engaged in a planning process both internally and with the Liberty League, which we expect will allow us to re-engage athletics this fall, which is our fervent hope.”
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the first practice dates of the fall season were based on the date of teams’ first contests, but, because of unknown circumstances regarding the pandemic, member institutions are unsure when their first contests will be. The administrative committee decided that extending the length of preseason allows institutions to prioritize their student-athletes’ health and safety while still holding a preseason.
The administrative committee approved the first practice decision during a videoconference June 10 based on suggestions from the NCAA Division III Management Council’s Playing and Practice Seasons Subcommittee. It also said in a statement that its member institutions will be allowed an unlimited number of administrative days. These are days that allow schools to hold nonathletics-related activities while covering housing and meal expenses for student-athletes before the start of practice.
With this announcement, the NCAA Sport Science Institute also released guidelines, the Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport, that suggest how to resume athletics and bring student-athletes and staff back to campus. There are nine principles for institutions to follow along with a three-phase system.