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Here’s How The American’s Plans for Olympic Sports in 2020 Affect UCF

Big changes this season for volleyball, soccer and cross-country

Derek Warden

Let’s take a look at The American’s fall sports plan that was released Wednesday and break down the important and relevant points for volleyball, soccer and cross country, along with some analysis from a UCF Knights perspective:

Volleyball

  • The conference will split into two divisions: The East (containing UCF, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Temple and USF) and West (with Houston, Memphis, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa and Wichita State)
  • Each team will play the other teams in its division twice at the same site, still TBD. Obviously, this unbalanced situation means UCF and its counterparts in the East will play eight matches while teams in the West will play ten.
  • Conference play is scheduled to begin the weekend of September 24-27 and ends the weekend of November 12-15. Matches are to be played between Thursday and Sunday.
  • The 2020 American Women’s Volleyball Championship will be held November 21-22 at Cincinnati.
  • The tournament will be a four-team bracket with the top two teams from each division making it to the postseason.
  • Teams have three weekends for non-conference matches, starting on September 1.

Quick Analysis: UCF plays only eight conference matches, but two of them are against Cincinnati. All other matches are against teams that were under .500 in conference last year. Plus, if they make it to the conference tournament, that’s at Cincinnati. Good thing Jordan Thompson isn’t around anymore.

Women’s Soccer

  • Teams will play an eight-match single-round-robin schedule in conference (there are nine Women’s Soccer teams in The American).
  • Conference games will be played on Sundays only.
  • Play begins September 6.
  • Midweek non-conference games can start on September 1, but only if the opponent “meets the standards and testing guidelines set by The American’s Medical Advisory Group.”
  • Midweek games can only be played against teams that can make a day bus trip (no flights or overnights).
  • The four-team 2020 American Women’s Soccer Championship will be held November 6th and 8th at the home of the top seed.
  • If the top seed cannot host the championship due to travel restrictions, or state or local regulations, the site moves to the next-highest seed.

Quick Analysis: More or less this is standard operating procedure. The midweek bus trip-only rule means that, potentially, Florida State (RPI #3), Florida (#28), FAU (#32) FGCU (#78), Miami (#124), and FIU (#312) are all possibly in play for mid-week matches, depending on how their conferences feel about it.

Cross Country

  • Schools can schedule regular season meets as much as they want to after September 1.
  • The American Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31, at 4 Mile Creek Resort in Augusta, Kansas.

Quick Analysis: We at least have the potential to see a home meet or two. It all comes down to the conference meet anyway.

Men’s Soccer

  • The American’s six men’s soccer teams will play a 10-match double-round-robin (home and home) schedule of conference matches. Remember, UConn and Cincinnati are gone this year.
  • Conference games will be played on Saturdays beginning September 5, but may be moved to Friday or Sunday if a conflict with a home football game exists.
  • Midweek non-conference games can start on September 1, but only if the opponent “meets the standards and testing guidelines set by The American’s Medical Advisory Group.”
  • Midweek games can only be played against teams that can make a day bus trip (no flights or overnights).
  • The four-team 2020 American Men’s Soccer Championship will be held either November 12 and 14 or November 13 and 15 at the site of the top seed based on regular season record.
  • If the top seed cannot host the championship due to travel restrictions, or state or local regulations, the site moves to the next-highest seed.

Quick Analysis: UConn and Cincy were sixth and seventh in The American last year, respectively, so the schedule didn’t get much easier, aside from not having to play in frigid northern conditions potentially late in the season. This is as even as a schedule is going to get, and is basically what The American would have done anyway had COVID-19 not happened.

Everything Else

Decisions on any Fall competition for the spring sports, including baseball, softball, rowing, golf and tennis “will be announced at a later date.”

Decisions on modifications to winter sports (basketball and indoor track and field for UCF) “will also be announced at a later date.”

The conference also said its health and safety protocols, mentioned throughout the release, will be made public at a later date, once the conference’s Medical Advisory Group comes up with them.