Mark Emmert

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Mark Emmert apparently doesn’t know how the FCS playoffs work

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This is not a good look, Mark Emmert.  This is not a good look at all.

The NCAA president has come under fire for his stance on the name-image-likeness issue.  In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, he was lampooned for his organization’s handling of the situation.  In general, Emmert’s stewardship, such as it is, has led to renewed calls for a commissioner to oversee college football.

And now this.

In an interview with ESPN.com, Emmert expressed a great deal of concern about the ability of fall sports to go off as scheduled.  Rightly so, the NCAA head thinks that a delayed start to fall sports, including football, as well as a shortened schedule would be optimal.

At one point, though, the conversation with the Worldwide Leader turned to the FCS playoff.  And Mark Emmert stepped in it.  And tripped over it.  Basically, impressively Three Stooging his response as a solo act.

An individual contest — a football game, a basketball game — that’s quite different. In the case of a bowl game or the CFP, you’re talking about a championship game. Can you create a bubble with enough lead time to have two teams play each other safely? The answer to that may be yes. The FCS is a round-robin championship with 20 teams participating and a full-on championship event. That’s a very different and much more challenging environment than adding one or two more games to a season with a lot of space in between.

Two things.  One, the Football Championship Series utilizes a single-elimination playoff.  Not a round-robin championship.  Two, there are 24 teams participating (10 automatic bids, 14 at-large).  Not 20.  And it’s been two dozen since 2013.

Actually, a third as well: I’m assuming that Heather Dinich transcribed Emmert’s own words very, very accurately.

Fortunately for all involved, the NCAA in general and Emmert specifically has no control over the FBS postseason.  None at all.  You know, that 10-team Bowl Championship Series that decides the national champion of major college football…

NCAA delays decision on fall sports championships until at least August; FBS conferences breathe a sigh of relief — for now

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FBS programs, particularly those in the Power Five, got exactly what they wanted from the NCAA.  For now, at least.

The NCAA Board of Governors, as expected, held a meeting Friday.  Last week, the football oversight committee sent a letter asking the ultimate decision-makers to avoid making one on whether to conduct fall championships as college sports tries to find a path to play through the pandemic.  While not directly impacting the highest level of college football — the NCAA has no oversight on the postseason, including playoffs — nixing of the championships in other fall sports would’ve put pressure on Power Fives, in particular, to cancel their seasons as well.

Friday, though, the NCAA announced that it will not postpone championships for any fall sports.  Instead, the discussions will continue on into August.

Below is a statement attributed to NCAA president Mark Emmert.

Today the Board of Governors and I agreed that we must continue to thoughtfully and aggressively monitor health conditions around the country and the implementation of the COVID-19 guidelines we issued last week.

The health and well-being of college athletes is the highest priority in deciding whether to proceed with our 22 NCAA championships beginning in late November.  We all remain deeply concerned about the infection trend lines we see.  It is clear that the format of our championships will have to change if they are to be conducted in a safe and fair manner.

We discussed other complexities in addition to the health and safety impacts, to include team availability, travel limitations and various local and state restrictions.  We will continue our discussions in August.

The next scheduled meeting of the Board of Governors is set for Aug. 4.  By that time, most of the Power Fives, with perhaps the exception of the Big 12, will have made some type of scheduling decisions.  In fact, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have already gone to conference-only schedules.  The ACC and SEC are expected to unveil their plans at some point next week.

NCAA football oversight asks Board of Governors for time on fall sports

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The NCAA football oversight committee is asking the association’s Board of Governors to avoid making a decision later this week on whether to conduct fall championships as college sports tries to find a path to play through the pandemic.

A letter dated July 21 was sent by committee chairman Shane Lyons, the West Virginia athletic director, to the board before it meets on Friday. The letter was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press and first reported on by Yahoo Sports.

“We acknowledge that the path forward will be challenging, and that the virus may ultimately dictate outcomes,” the letter says. “We are simply requesting that the Board of Governors not make an immediate decision on the outcome of fall championships, so that conferences and schools may have ample latitude to continue to evaluate the viability of playing football this fall.”

College sports leaders have warned if conditions across the country did not improve, football and other fall sports will be in jeopardy.

“I get asked every day if college sports will return this fall. The consensus opinion among our health advisers is significant change must occur for that to happen,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said Wednesday while testifying during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing mainly focused on how to allow college athletes to earn money from their names, images and likenesses.

The board is the NCAA’s highest-ranking governing body, comprised mostly of university presidents representing all three divisions of its nearly 1,300 member schools. Its next official meeting is scheduled for Aug. 4 and Friday’s session is ad hoc.

The board has the power to call off NCAA championship events in fall sports such as soccer, women’s volleyball and lower-division football, including the second tier of Division I known as the Championship Subdivision.

Five FCS conferences have already postponed their football seasons, though among them the Ivy League, Southwestern Athletic Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference do not participate in the playoffs.

The NCAA has no authority to postpone or cancel specific seasons, a decision that would be up to individual schools or their conferences. But canceling or postponing NCAA championships could increase pressure for conferences to call off sports – including at the top-tier of college football, where Bowl Subdivision conferences are weighing options.

“While experience has shown that the impact of the virus can shift dramatically from week to week, the committee strongly believes that a patient approach to evaluating the possibility of conducting 2020 fall championships will provide the remaining conferences and schools the best opportunity to make deliberate decisions about conducting practices and competition this fall,” the oversight committee wrote.

The FBS conferences control major college football’s postseason, with dozens of bowl games and the four-team College Football Playoff to determine a champion. The NCAA has no role.

The FBS season is scheduled to start around the Labor Day weekend. The prospects of that seem to be dimming after COVID-19 cases surged over the last three weeks in many states.

At the hearing, Emmert also said he is “categorically opposed” to liability waivers some schools have had athletes sign as the return to campus to prepare for their sports seasons.

“It is an inappropriate thing for schools to be doing,” he said.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already announced they will play only conferences games this season as a way to manage anticipated disruptions from the spread of COVID-19.

Neither conference has released a revised schedule yet. The Southeastern Conference, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference haven’t made any decisions on whether to modify schedules, but expect to provide more clarity by the end of nex week. Modified and truncated schedules could delay the start of the season, buying more time for conditions to improve.

Administrators have said they would like to see how the return of students to campus during August effects the surrounding communities and athletic departments’ ability to keep athletes virus-free.

Now there are questions about how soon colleges and universities will allow students back on campus. Clemson President Jim Clements announced Wednesday that the semester will start online and in-person classes will be delayed four weeks because of COVID-19 cases in South Carolina.

Mark Emmert: ‘If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic’

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Suffice to say, the NCAA isn’t exactly optimistic there will be a college football season this year.  At least, at this time they’re not.

Thursday afternoon, the NCAA released an updated set of return-to-sports guidelines, including football.  It should be noted that all of these guidelines are merely recommendations from the NCAA and are not requirements.  Yet.

The most noteworthy of the recommendations is that, in high-contact-risk sports, testing should occur 72 hours ahead of an athletic competition taking place.  Included in the testing is getting the results back in that same timeframe.

Obviously, football would very much be considered a high-contact-risk sport.

Below are some of the other guidelines recommended by the NCAA:

  • Daily self-health checks.
  • The appropriate use of face coverings and social distancing during training, competition and outside of athletics.
  • Testing strategies for all athletics activities, including pre-season, regular season and post-season.
  • Member schools must adhere to public health standards set by their local communities.

“Any recommendation on a pathway toward a safe return to sport will depend on the national trajectory of COVID-19 spread,” said Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer, in a statement. “The idea of sport resocialization is predicated on a scenario of reduced or flattened infection rates.”

In his own statement, the president of the NCAA sounded an ominous alarm for fall sports, including football.

“When we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel last spring’s championships it was because there was simply no way to conduct them safely,” said Mark Emmert. “This document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable. Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”

The NCAA provided a graphic to show just how precarious the college football season is at the moment.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Mark Emmert suggesting six years ago that paying players would doom college sports

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on June 19, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Big Ten coaches on hot seat: Record revenues mean those big buyouts don’t mean quite as much
THE SYNOPSIS: Just two B1G programs will have different coaches in 2020.  Chris Ash was fired by Rutgers.  And Mark Dantoniostepped down” at Michigan State.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Lincoln Riley will (barely) make more than his starting QB in 2018
THE SYNOPSIS: The head coach made $4.8 million in guaranteed compensation. Kyler Murray, the ninth-overall pick of the 2019 MLB Draft, was paid a $4.7 million signing bonus.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Tennessee lands eight commitments in one day
THE SYNOPSIS: The 2017-18 seasons produced a combined nine wins.  Vols fans can only hope this year’s recruiting rush produces better on-field results.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Jim Harbaugh effect helping to turn around ticket sales at Michigan
THE SYNOPSIS: In five seasons under Harbaugh, the Wolverines have finished third or fourth in The Big Ten East four times.  U-M is also 0-5 vs. rival Ohio State.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Mark Emmert once again suggests paying players would doom college sports
THE SYNOPSIS: Six years later, players are about to earn money off their own name, image and likeness.  With the begrudging approval of the NCAA.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Johnny Manziel’s angry tweet was fueled by a… parking ticket?
THE SYNOPSIS: What do we always say?  Johnny Football gonna Johnny Football, y’all.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Dr. Lou: Notre Dame should join Big Ten
THE SYNOPSIS: A decade later, many observers align with  Holtz’s opinion.  Except for those whose opinions matter most.  Ya know, the ones who reside in South Bend.

2009

THE HEADLINE: Jim Harbaugh Steers Around the NFL Question
THE SYNOPSIS: On Jan. 7, 2011, Harbaugh officially left Stanford for the San Francisco 49ers.