NCAA rejects proposal to remove minimum sports offered requirement for DI schools

Photo by Fabiana Huffaker

While there remains uncertainties regarding the full effects that the coronavirus pandemic will have on college sports, NCAA Division I schools will still need to have a minimum 16 varsity programs.

The NCAA Division I Council on Friday rejected a proposal from several conferences to temporarily eliminate the minimum number of sports a school needed to sponsor to maintain its NCAA Division I status.

The proposal if approved would have opened the possibility for NCAA Division I schools to eliminate non-revenue generating Olympic sports like men’s volleyball, women’s volleyball and women’s beach volleyball. Schools can still eliminate programs, but if they fall below 16 sponsored sports they will be ineligible to compete at the Division I level.


Numerous organizations including the AVCA voiced opposition to the proposal once it was made public last week. In addition, UCLA coach John Spreaw and Long Beach State coach Alan Knipe were among the individuals who participated in the “Save College Sports” campaign and produced videos encouraging college administrators to reject the proposal.

“Higher education is facing unique challenges, and the Division I leadership believes it’s appropriate to examine areas in which rules can be relaxed or amended to provide flexibility for schools and conferences,” M. Grace Calhoun, chair of the Division I Council, said in a statement. “We will prioritize student-athlete well-being and opportunities balanced with reducing costs associated with administering college sports, but a blanket waiver of sport sponsorship requirements is not in keeping with our values and will not be considered.”

Despite the sports sponsorship requirement being rejected for all schools, individual schools can still request a waiver.

The sports sponsorship requirement was part of a lengthier proposal to provide at least a two-year waiver for Division I schools to not meet certain requirements because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Division I Council opted to further consider certain elements of the proposal such as scheduling and summer access requirements.