If there's a D-Day for the college football season, it might just be Friday.
That's when the NCAA's Board of Governors is scheduled to meet, and the Board -- the NCAA's highest governing body, comprised primarily of Division I presidents -- could shut down all fall sports championships.
This group has shown the willingness to make bold, sweeping actions before; back in March, they canceled all winter and spring championships on the same March day.
And while the Board of Governors doesn't have the power to shut down seasons, canceling each sport's championships would essentially make each conference's and each school's decision for them. To be sure, at some point soon -- particularly at Division II and III -- a tipping point could arrive where there aren't enough teams to field a season even if a school wanted to, but that point has not arrived in Division I. Not yet.
The NCAA, of course, does not have the power to shut down the FBS postseason, because there is no such thing as an NCAA football championship at the FBS level. The conferences run it themselves.
But shutting down the FCS playoffs, the Division I volleyball tournament, the Division I soccer tournament, etc., would put FBS football between the ultimate rock and hard place. Every sporting entity above them -- the pro leagues -- are playing. In fact, by next week, the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA, NASCAR, UFC and MLS will all be in some sort of action simultaneously. But if the NCAA shuts down its fall championships, every college sport aside from FBS football will go dark for the fall -- leaving the FBS in no man's land.
That's why West Virginia AD Shane Lyons, chairman of the Division I Football Oversight Committee, wrote this letter to the Board of Governors this week.
“We acknowledge that the path forward will be challenging, and that the virus may ultimately dictate outcomes,” the letter says (via the Associated Press and Yahoo). “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.”
"The Committee strongly believes that a patient approach to evaluating 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."
Again, the NCAA Board of Governors doesn't have the power to shut down the FBS football season on its own, and it can't stop the FCS, Division II and Division III from playing out their regular seasons. But it can make it incredibly difficult to pull off any of those endeavors, and it could do so as soon as Friday.