Will the NCAA Have Summer Sports?

The College Baseball World Series takes place in June.

The College Baseball World Series takes place in June.

The NCAA and college sports are key players in the American sports landscape. Television contracts and merchandise rights have made the NCAA a tycoon organization reaching almost a billion dollars in revenue last year. They compete seasonally with the NFL, NBA, and NHL throughout the academic year, which is also the heights of American sports coverage. But the untapped season for NCAA athletics is the summer.

The only major NCAA sport with a major TV contract in the summer is the College Baseball World Series. The tournament in Omaha, Nebraska takes place annually in June for a little over a week. Besides baseball this leaves a significant gap between the first week in April (NCAA basketball championship) until late August when football season begins.

This allows the NBA and NHL playoffs, MLB regular season, FIFA World Cup/Summer Olympics, and NFL draft all have spotlight time without a fight from the NCAA. Will the NCAA attempt to shift schedules to have more significant competition in the summer months?

The NCAA could use two different strategies to earn open summer weeks. First, they could shift smaller sports’ seasons to a spring/summer format. This would create longer seasons and further competition in sports like baseball, lacrosse, or track & field. They could also add more sports to this timeslot like soccer or volleyball. The second strategy would to be extending the college basketball and football seasons. They could add games and extend seasons that would have games taking place in parts of the summer.

If the NCAA seeks this new business avenue, it will be difficult to keep academic standards and guidelines. The college sports landscape is evolving every year, especially with the recent union rumblings coming from Northwestern.  But let’s be honest, academic standards and controversy haven’t stopped the NCAA before and they won’t in the future.

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