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Omaha could still host volleyball Final Four
ATHLETICS

Omaha could still host volleyball Final Four

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It’s official. Volleyball and the other postponed fall sports will conduct their seasons in 2021.

The NCAA’s top Division I committee approved the proposal Tuesday.

That means volleyball’s postseason tournament — which was originally set to conclude with the final four in December in Omaha — will now finish on April 23 and 25. The field will be trimmed from 64 to 48 teams.

The CHI Health Center does have an opening within its event schedule on that April weekend, and Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority officials are in contact with the NCAA as it works to reshape the tournament’s structure.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said last month that the rescheduled championship events would likely choose host sites well before the postseason begins next spring. One or more bubble settings might even be established.

So yes, Omaha is still in the mix to host the 2020/21 volleyball final four.

But there are more unknowns yet to be sorted out.

At this point, what’s clear is that the window for volleyball’s regular season is Jan. 22 to April 4. Individual schools can determine their own start dates for preseason practices.

Nebraska will be one of the nation’s favorites. The Huskers return their top contributors from last season’s team, which finished 28-5, tied for second in the Big Ten and reached the elite eight.

Creighton won its sixth straight Big East regular-season crown before losing in the NCAA tournament’s second round. UNO, which recorded its highest win total (19) in four years, lost the Summit League title match to Denver.

“We’d heard through the grapevine that we likely would be getting a spring season, but to have it solidified is really exciting,” Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said Tuesday.

Before last week, it was not certain when they would return to competition.

The Big Ten, Big East and Summit League announced in August their decisions to postpone fall sports in the wake of the pandemic. The leagues indicated then that they hoped to conduct seasons in the spring, but it wasn’t until last week that the Division I Council announced a proposed framework. The plan became official Tuesday following a vote from the Division I Board of Directors, a committee chaired by Texas State President Denise Trauth.

“The plan sent to us by the Division I Council provides the maximum number of opportunities to fall student-athletes to participate in NCAA championships while still being fiscally responsible,” Trauth said in a statement. “We look forward to the spring, understanding things will look a little different but knowing the competitions will be just as meaningful as in normal circumstances.”

Here are the new templates for the fall-to-spring sports that are sponsored by Nebraska, Creighton and UNO:

Volleyball

Regular season begins: Jan. 22

Postseason selections: April 4

Final four: April 23-25

NCAA tournament field: 48 teams

Men’s soccer

Regular season begins: Feb. 3

Postseason selections: April 18

College Cup: May 13-17

NCAA tournament field: 36 teams

Women’s soccer

Regular season begins: Feb. 3

Postseason selections: April 18

College Cup: May 13-17

NCAA tournament field: 48 teams

Cross country

Regular season begins: Jan. 30

Postseason selections: March 6

College Cup: March 15

NCAA Championships field: 255 participants per gender


An early look at Nebraska volleyball's 2020 roster

Omaha World-Herald: Local Sports

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