NCAA extends eligibility one year for athletes in spring sports

01 Avril, 2020, 21:41 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Florida State senior pitcher Antonio Velez will have a chance to return in 2021 if he so chooses

The NCAA Division I Council gave schools permission to give spring sport athletes an additional year of eligibility, it announced Monday evening.

The decision obviously impacts Division I basketball players, most of whom were preparing for or playing in league tournaments when play was halted.

The College Swimming Coaches Association of America released a statement in agreement with the outcome of the NCAA Division I Council's ruling that winter sports athletes would not receive an extra year of eligibility in the wake of mass coronavirus-related cancellations.

Schools won't have to offer the same level of scholarship to returning senior athletes, as they had this season.

The vote, which took place on Monday afternoon, comes after most spring sports seasons were halted early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"This decision is truly positive for the spring sport student-athletes who lost a valuable season". Winter sports - basketball, wrestling and gymnastics among others - were not included in the decision.

Financial aid rules were adjusted to allow teams to carry more athletes on scholarship, expanding the limit to include those who return.

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Perhaps never has so much been written about the spring sports affected, including baseball, softball, outdoor track and field, lacrosse, tennis, golf, rowing, men's volleyball, beach volleyball and women's water polo. For example, equivalency sports such as baseball don't provide full scholarships and would need their athletes to make the choice of investing thousands of dollars into furthering their collegiate careers if they chose to come back.

"The Council's decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level", said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Penn.

Schools can also turn to the NCAA's Student Assistance Fund to cover the scholarships of athletes who take advantage of the extra-eligibility waiver in 2020-21. Division II athletes were also granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA on March 20. "We're all working through it, but bottom line, this was the right thing to do for the student-athletes".

Of those, however, how many already had post-college plans in place?

"The athletes work so hard for their senior year".

That means seniors interested in returning for the March Madness experience taken away from them can not come back. The NCAA had previously set baseball roster limits at 35 players and restricted the number of players on scholarship to 27. "The other piece is what would they come and do if they're all graduating?"

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