NCAA President: Campuses Must Be Open to Hold College Athletics in the Fall

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NCAA president Mark Emmert said on Friday college campuses must be open "in one fashion or another," in order to host college athletics in the fall.

"You have to have the campuses open in one fashion or another for students before you have college athletics going on in those campuses," Emmert said on CNN. "Nothing is going to be typical this fall, and sports is likely to be the same."

Emmert's comments don't perfectly align with those from some conference commissioners. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said on Thursday he believes athletics can restart in the fall even if all university classes are online. 

"If in the main students are taking classes online, I don't think it's a problem that student athletes take classes online and participate in athletics," Bowlsby told Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger. "However, if the university is closed and nobody is taking classes in-person or online in any way, I don't think you can have sports because these are student athletes and they need to be enrolled and going to college to participate in the program."

Emmert noted the potential disparity in campuses across the country. Some could fully re-open this fall, while others may continue online-only instruction. 

"I think we're going to see quite an array of openings this fall," Emmert said. "Some totally online, some partially online, some trying to do as much normal if you will as they can."

The NCAA canceled all winter and spring sports on March 12 amid the COVID-19 crisis. No formal announcement has been made regarding the 2020-21 sports calendar.