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Fairness, Adaptability and the NCAA

During the last year people and institutions have given one another the benefit of the doubt when it comes to COVID-19 policies and rules. In 2020, one thing most everyone could agree on is that we had to create responses from nothing and, with that, comes the need for flexibility.

Today the benefit of the doubt stops in relation to the NCAA. During my tenure as CMU President, I have advocated for student interests over the business interest of the NCAA. When in doubt, CMU errs on the side of what is best for these young athletes.

If ever there were a time for rules and polices to be adaptable it’s during a pandemic such as this, when conditions are continuously changing.

This week CMU is hosting the NCAA Division II tournament despite the fact that our team is not playing. The tournament was reduced in size from a traditional eight team format to a six team contest per the pandemic. This week, a team that was in the tournament tested positive for COVID-19 forcing their elimination from the six team bracket. In this situation, there is an established process for adding the next team that would have qualified for the tournament, and under a normal eight team bracket would be been included. However, due to an arbitrary interpretation of the temporary COVID-19 rules, the NCAA decided not to move an additional team to the lineup. In this case, it may or may not have been CMU. No matter, the NCAA has lost its way when the rules that are temporary and arbitrary to begin with err on the side of excluding teams, and reducing the number of student-athletes who can compete. The unfortunate effects of this decision are compounded during a year when their chances to play have been minimal.

In the hours to come CMU will explore all options at our disposal within the NCAA process and with Colorado’s Attorney General.


Written by Tim Foster