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NCAA Division I Council recommends granting extra eligibility to athletes who cannot play this fall

The NCAA Division I Council has recommended to the board to grant an extension to the five-year eligibility period for athletes who cannot play or have decided to opt-out this fall.

The NCAA has been actively discussing ways to ensure athletes will keep their eligibility if their seasons were impacted by the coronavirus. 

They already granted another season of eligibility to the seniors in spring sports in 2020. And with conferences and divisions across the nation canceling/postponing fall sports, it appears they will have to grant more eligibility. 

On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council met via videoconferencing and recommended to the board of directors to continue to grant extra seasons of eligibility. 

"The Council recommended the board provide fall sport student-athletes who compete and then opt out of future participation or have a season cut short due to COVID-19: (1) an extension of their five-year period of eligibility; and (2) an additional season of competition if they participate in 50% or less of the maximum number of competitions allowed in each sport by Division I rules," The release read. 

The final decision will be made by the board prior to Aug. 21. 

That would mean that every athlete that was set to participate in a sport and either opted out or their season was canceled will receive "an extension" of their five-year period of eligibility. 

For the spring season that was canceled, it was only seniors that were able to get more years of eligibility. 

The council also discussed a "prohibition" on schools that try to take away "athletic aid" from their athletes. This means that anybody that does decide to opt-out will be able to retain their scholarship when they come back to school. 

That was one of the demands of the #WeAreUnited players movement. 

They also recommended to the board to discuss adding financial aid flexibility to fall sports. This is something they did for spring sports as well, allowing schools to utilize more resources for scholarships because of the additional players they will have rostered.