All NCAA Division III winter sports championships are canceled this season due to low participation numbers among member schools.
The NCAA made the announcement in a press release Tuesday night, stating that after reviewing data submitted by member schools, it determined participation numbers in all nine winter sports are “well below the established threshold to provide a national championships experience.”
The decision was made on the recommendation from the Division III Championships Committee, which has been monitoring the membership’s winter sport participation and providing updates to the Championships Committee and the Division III Administrative Committee.
National championships affected are men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, men’s and women’s ice hockey, and wrestling.
“Today, we made the difficult decision to cancel our Division III winter championships,” said Fayneese Miller, chair of the Presidents Council and president at Hamline University. “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.
“This was a very difficult decision to make, and we are saddened to do so. However, none of our winter sports meet the Championships Committee’s established thresholds of participation to hold a championship. We are committed to ensuring that our student-athletes have the best possible experience, and, for us, this means having a meaningful number of competitions. We hope this is possible for our spring championship.”
According to the press release, a “declaration form” was sent to members schools Jan. 19 seeking their intention on whether or not they would meet the minimum contest requirements to be eligible for championship selection by established selection dates. The form was completed by 98% of Division III membership, the NCAA said.
The thresholds are 60% for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s indoor track and field, and 70% for men’s and women’s ice hockey and wrestling.
According to the NCAA, Division III “yes” participation numbers for 2020-21 winter sports season are:
- Men’s basketball: 48.6%
- Women’s basketball: 46.2%
- Men’s swimming/diving: 43.1%
- Women’s swimming/diving: 42%
- Men’s indoor track and field: 48.8%
- Women’s indoor track and field: 49.3%
- Men’s ice hockey: 52.3%
- Women’s ice hockey: 51.4%
- Wrestling: 61.8%
Locally, the University of Scranton is competing in the Landmark Conference in men’s and women’s basketball and swimming and diving. Marywood University and Keystone College’s winter sports teams are out of action because their respective conferences, the Atlantic East and the Colonial States Athletic Conference, previously canceled the winter sports seasons.
Meanwhile in the Middle Atlantic Conference, Wilkes University’s men’s and women’s basketball and ice hockey teams are competing as well as Misericordia University’s women’s basketball team. King’s College earlier opted out of all winter sports.
Also, the Penn State University Commonwealth Campuses, which includes Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, also previously announced it will not have a winter sports season in 2020-21.