The NCAA announced Feb. 3 that it will cancel all winter athletic championships for the 2020–21 school year due to lack of participation from member institutions. Ithaca College would not have been eligible to compete prior to this decision because of the Liberty League conference’s decision in November to cancel winter sports.
After months of surveying and collecting data from member schools, the Championship Committee found that there was not enough participation in all nine winter sports to support a championship bracket. The nine winter sports are wrestling, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s ice hockey.
“Today, we made the difficult decision to cancel our Division III winter championships,” said Fayneese Miller, chair of the Presidents Council and president of Hamline University, in a statement released by the NCAA. “While some institutions have been able to safely return to sport, the recent declaration form data show that more than half of our division has not returned to winter sport practice and competition to be in a position for NCAA national championship participation.”
In order to host effective championships, the Championship Committee decided that 70% member participation was necessary for wrestling and men’s and women’s ice hockey, while the other six winter sports only needed 60%. Wrestling was the closest with 61.8% participation across the division. Men’s ice hockey had 52.3% participation, while women’s was 51.4%. Men’s and women’s basketball, indoor track and field, and swimming and diving were all below 50% participation.
Despite the decision to cancel winter championships, the Bombers are still practicing. There has been discussion of competing locally, but the college’s Office of Intercollegiate Athletics has not yet made a decision regarding that.
Miller said in the statement that the NCAA hopes spring athletics can have a meaningful number of competitions in order to have Division III national championships. The college and the Liberty League conference have yet to make a decision regarding spring sports competition. The college stated in its announcement Nov. 9 that a decision would be made in January or February.