NCAA Division I college fall sports teams that have had their seasons moved to the second semester now have dates and playoff formats established for those campaigns.
That means the University of Maine now has parameters for seasons in football, soccer, field hockey and cross country. But pursuing those sports and the proposed starting dates remain subject to approval from the state and the university system.
UMaine women’s soccer coach Scott Atherley is pleased dates have been established and conferences can now begin working on schedules.
“The winter sports will provide a real good snapshot and blueprint for what will happen this spring,” Atherley said. “I’m glad they have established a date for the championships and that all 31 of our conferences will receive an automatic berth to the tournament.”
The NCAA has announced that any Football Championship Subdivision team may play as many as eight games during a 13-week period leading up to April 18. At that point, it will announce a reduced field of 16 playoff teams, instead of 24, leading up to a national championship game tentatively set for May 14-16.
The NCAA has reduced postseason qualifiers in all sports to 75 percent of their normal competitors.
The dates for the first practices and first games in the second semester for the UMaine football team and all FCS schools will be up to the discretion of schools and conferences.
Among 124 FCS teams, only 15 are playing games this fall. Some will also play in the spring when they can compete for a national championship, but others don’t plan to field teams during the second semester.
Schools will be responsible for determining practice dates for fall sports that were moved to the spring, but the NCAA has announced dates for when the first competitions may be held and when NCAA tournament selections and championship play will be contested.
UMaine cross country teams could theoretically run their first meet on Jan. 23, 2021. The field for the NCAAs will be chosen on March 6 and the championships are set for March 15.
Black Bears field hockey may play beginning on Feb. 12, with postseason selection slated for April 24 and NCAA championships planned May 7-9. For UMaine women’s soccer, its opener could be played on Feb. 3, NCAA selection is scheduled for April 18 and the championship weekend will be May 13-17.
Rob Washburn, associate commissioner-communications director for the Colonial Athletic Association football league, said they have a number of contingency plans and can now begin the process of putting together a tentative schedule.
He doesn’t envision any games being played before the end of February or early March.