WT AD McBroom moving forward with fall sports plan despite NCAA decision
Despite the NCAA’s ruling to cancel Division II fall championships West Texas A&M athletics still has plans in place for fall sports. [Trevor Fleeman/ For Press Pass Sports]
The NCAA made a major announcement Wednesday that Division II’s seven 2020 fall championships are canceled, due to the operational, logistical and financial challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
So what does this mean for West Texas A&M University and its fall sports programs?
WTAMU athletic director Michael McBroom released a statement Wednesday night stating WT plans on moving forward with regular season and other championship options.
McBroom took time out of his busy schedule to talk with Press Pass Sports on several topics involving the current fall situation.
What was your reaction to Wednesday’s news of the NCAA cancelling Division II fall championships?
“It wasn’t unexpected to me. I heard over the last few weeks there was a chance it was going to happen. I wish they’d made it news to the membership in July. At the same time it clears the deck for us and allows us to focus on what are regular season opportunities are, and a way to design a different kind of championship for the student-athletes this fall.”
What’s next? When will we know anything from the Lone Star Conference, and when is there a plan going forward?
“The LSC presidents will meet Friday. That will determine what the LSC will look like for fall and spring. I know we are aligned with institutions with the same mindset of playing in the fall. I have a couple of schedules laid that will we go with one way or another with those schools. By Friday afternoon I think we will have a clear path with what a fall schedule will look like.”
What does creating other championships look like?
“The NCAA decision doesn’t impact are ability to determine a Lone Star Conference champion. The presidents and athletic directors from the conference will meet Friday and we will make a decision on what the regular season will look like. We have some options and we can still crown an LSC champion, and technically we can still create our own postseason with other institutions in different sports and different conferences. There are plenty of other conferences that plan to play like us.”
If the LSC decides to move fall sports to the spring will you support that decision?
“I do not support a move from fall sports to spring. On paper it may be fine but when you get into the logistics of trying to run 16 championships logistics of trying to run 16 championship seasons simultaneously, It becomes almost impossible and I believe it diminishes the experience for everyone. Would we have enough buses, are there enough hotel rooms, where do we feed multiple teams in the same small city. And for home games, fans will choose between a basketball, football, volleyball, baseball, soccer or softball game.”
How will the schedule work for each fall sport?
“The first day of practice is Aug. 24. That’s a full NCAA regulated practice. First date of competition is Sept. 21, or later. That’s what the LSC presidents have decided for now. Since the NCAA cancelled postseason we don’t really have an end date. We have 103 days to get a season in. Football can play a maximum of 10 regular season games, volleyball can play a maximum of 20 dates, men and women’s soccer can have 14 games, and cross country can run six meets. However, this year only we have the ability to play 50 percent of our maximum games and students will not lose a season of eligibility. We believe this may be our best option but we have several things we are looking at right now.
What do you think benefits WT athletes the most?
“It depends on the athlete really. The senior football player who has been here five years, redshirted, and on track to graduate in December, they’d probably want to play as much as they can safely. Then you have the sophomore with high hopes for down the road may just play five games. It varies team to team.
Do you support any student-athlete that opts out this year for safety reasons?
“Absolutely. We’ve made that clear. Anyone who is concerned about playing because of COVID-19, they may opt out and their academic portion of their scholarship will remain intact. They can sit the year out and if they maintain academic progress, and health requirements they can return next year.”
Are your seasonal coaches all behind you on playing in the fall?
“They are chomping at the bit. We are ready to go, the coaches are ready to go. We’ve put a lot of effort in getting ready for the fall. From our president down, we are ready to get back to normal and compete, and do it safely.”