COVID-19: Where are we now?
Over the past weeks several announcements have been made regarding the immediate future of softball at all levels of play. High school and travel programs, as well as community initiatives, have been announcing their plans to ensure player safety in the wake of COVID-19 while collegiate governing bodies have been laying out plans for softball after the pandemic. On this page, please find the most current information that we have regarding all levels of play. While we know the world has more pressing issues than the game of softball, we are committed to keeping you informed and aware so the next time we hear "play ball" we will all be able to share in the passion of the greatest game on Earth.
College Plans for Reopening Campuses (Chronicle of Higher Learning)
REMINDER: Division I is in a recruiting DEAD PERIOD until August 31, 2020. No Division I coach may participate in on or off-campus recruiting activities at this time.
June 25 - The Division I Council extended the recruiting dead period in all sports through Aug. 31. READ MORE
May 27 - The Division I Council Coordination Committee extended the recruiting dead period in all sports through July 31. Additionally, the committee decided to allow strength and conditioning coaches to virtually observe voluntary physical workouts for health and safety purposes but only if requested by the student-athlete. The measure goes into effect June 1. READ MORE
May 22 - Voluntary Athletics activities allowed in all DI sports starting June 1. READ MORE
May 13 - The NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee reviewed and considered feedback from various committees and coaches associations on the status of the current temporary recruiting dead period. Based on the feedback and the currently available medical information, the Coordination Committee adopted emergency legislation to extend the temporary recruiting dead period (as defined in NCAA Bylaw 13.02.5.5) in all sports through June 30. The Coordination Committee will review the status of the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to the dead period again during its May 27 meeting.
May 6 - Division I Council Coordination Committee approved three blanket waiver requests made by several Division I conferences late last month and adjusted recruiting regulations to allow for more flexibility during the dead period. READ MORE
April 30 - Mandatory bat barrel compression testing for Division I competition delayed to spring 2022. READ MORE
April 17- High school students intending to play NCAA Division I or II sports whose final semesters of their senior year were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic will have several pathways to meet the NCAA’s initial-eligibility requirements this year. READ MORE
April 16 - Division I coaches in all sports will be allowed more virtual connection with their teams beginning Monday, April 20, and continuing through May 31. READ MORE
Get up-to-the-minute NCAA Legislation information on eligibility, scholarships, countable activity, and more in this Question and Answer Guide. Weekly updates will be made to this document.
REMINDER: Division II is in a recruiting QUIET PERIOD through July 31. Institutional camps and clinics can take place at any location subject to applicable public health guidance, and institutional and conference decisions. The committee also confirmed that coaching staff members are permitted to be employed at a noninstitutional camp or clinic during the quiet period.
June 10 - The Division II Administrative Committee extended the recruiting quiet period through July 31 for all sports.
May 20 - The Division II Administrative Committee confirmed that institutional camps and clinics can take place at any location subject to applicable public health guidance, and institutional and conference decisions. The committee also confirmed that coaching staff members are permitted to be employed at a noninstitutional camp or clinic during the quiet period.
The committee adopted noncontroversial legislation to permit any number of uncommitted prospective student-athletes and their family members to participate on a telephone/video call with coaching staff members and current student-athletes until the start of the institution’s fall 2020 term. All other publicity restrictions per Division II Bylaw 13.10 apply.
May 19 - The NCAA Division II Presidents Council approved changes to the maximum number of contests (44 for softball) and dates of competition, minimum number of contests for sports sponsorship, and minimum number of contests for championships selection for the 2020-21 academic year only, as a result of the financial impact of COVID-19. READ MORE
May 15 - The Division II Management Council on Friday voted to recommend the Division II Presidents Council reduce the maximum number of permissible contests (44 for softball) for the 2020-21 academic year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE
May 14 - The Division II Administrative Committee on Wednesday approved a blanket waiver for the 2019-20 academic year regarding progress-toward-degree requirements for all continuing Division II student-athletes due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE
May 13 - The Division II Administrative Committee approved a quiet period from June 1-30, where it will be permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts with prospective student-athletes only on the member institution's campus, subject to applicable public health guidelines and institutional and conference decisions. No in-person, off campus recruiting contacts or evaluations may be made during this time.
May 6 - The Division II Administrative Committee addressed policies and regulations pertaining to recruiting, playing and practice seasons, two-year college transfer requirements and financial aid. The committee’s actions continued its effort to assist Division II schools and student-athletes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE
April 30 - Division II softball teams will still be required to do regular-season bat testing by spring 2022. READ MORE
April 17 - High school students intending to play NCAA Division I or II sports whose final semesters of their senior year were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic will have several pathways to meet the NCAA’s initial-eligibility requirements this year. READ MORE
April 16 - Division II Administrative Committee approves waivers involving virtual recruiting, committed student-athletes and transcript requirements READ MORE
The Division II Administrative Committee also published the following information regarding transfers:
"The committee recommended providing the enforcement staff additional authority to address COVID-19-related challenges with the NCAA Transfer Portal and permission-to-contact violations. For example, schools that fail to provide permission to contact within the legislated time frame of 14 consecutive calendar days may temporarily be granted flexibility from normal enforcement penalties. Student-athletes still automatically would be granted permission to contact by default. Also, for violations of contacting a student-athlete who does not have permission to contact, staff will have flexibility to apply enhanced enforcement penalties for tampering."
July 9 - Division III student-athletes will not be charged with participation for the 2020-21 season if their team can complete only 50% or less of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE
July 1 - Membership Committee statement on return to sports READ MORE
May 8 - The Division III Administrative Committee approved a recommendation from the Division III Championships Committee to cancel championships banquets and move all sport committee meetings to digital platforms for the 2020-21 academic year. READ MORE
April 30 - Division III softball teams will still be required to do regular-season bat testing by spring 2022. READ MORE
The Division III Administrative Committee approved measures giving schools additional flexibility when it comes to student-athletes, as well as participation and membership requirements.
The Division III measures approved on Friday, March 13, include an additional semester and season of eligibility for all student-athletes participating in spring sports, the removal of a minimum threshold of sponsored spring sports, and the flexibility for schools to assist students with travel, lodging and meals as a result of campus displacement.
In Division III, student-athletes have 10 semesters or 15 quarters to get in four seasons of participation. With this move by the committee, the 2020 spring semester will not count toward their 10 semesters or four seasons.
No actions were taken with regard to additional recruiting restrictions, as Division III does not have specific recruiting periods.
In their March 16, 2020 announcement that NAIA would be canceling all spring sport championships, the association also made an immediate statement concerning student-athlete eligibility:
"In an effort to provide relief, no spring sport student-athlete will be charged a season of competition. Any spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled full-time in 2020 will be awarded two additional semester terms of attendance or the equivalent."
July 9 (CCCAA) -Board of Directors announced contingency plan for return to sports. All sports will have a 30 percent reduction to maximum number of contests and the softball season will be held April 10-June 23. READ MORE
July 9 (NJCAA) - NJCAA Presidential Advisory Council recommended that a majority of competition be moved to the spring semester of 2021. Official plan of action to be determined on Monday, July 13.
NWAC Return to Play (6/24)
May 11 - The NJCAA, with support from the Board of Regents. has made the decision to lift the current in-person recruiting ban, effective 11:59 p.m. local time on Friday, May 15 for all sports. With the dead period lifted from the National Offfice, individual regions are permitted to implement rules and restrictions as necessary and in accordance with state and local regulations. Otherwise it is a college-by-college decision to enforce necessary rules regarding recruitment.
Regarding eligibility for spring sports, no spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled at an NJCAA or CCCAA member college in 2020 will be charged a year of participation.
The NJCAA will explore the opportunity to expand allowable Letters of Intent for spring sports for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years under the recommendation of the NJCAA Eligibility Committee.
Junior college transfers who will be enrolling on NCAA Division I institutions in the fall of 2020 will NOT immediately be given an additional year of eligibility. Those NCAA institutions WILL need to follow specific procedures to have an extra year of eligibility granted to junior college transfers.
July 10 - Georgia High School Association special cosiderations and softball rules modifications READ MORE
May 29 - The NFHS publishes a state-by-state update on restrictions and re-openings by the respective state high school associations. READ MORE
May 18 - NFHS releases recommendations for high school athletics and activities. READ MORE
April 17 NCAA Update - High school students intending to play NCAA Division I or II sports whose final semesters of their senior year were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic will have several pathways to meet the NCAA’s initial-eligibility requirements this year. READ MORE
While high school decisions vary greatly from one community and state to the next, the NFCA is providing the most up-to-date information possible through this interactive map (click on image). If you have updates for your respective area, please send them to Joni Schmidt (NFCA High School Liaison).
If you are in doubt of the best practices for your organization during this time, we encourage you to follow the CDC guidelines, available below.
Travel ball is in a unique situation with no overarching governing body. To protect your student-athletes, we recommend that CDC guidelines (linked above) and high school association shutdowns are strictly followed.
The NFCA has compiled the below relevant and accurate information for you to refer to as you navigate these waters: