The NCAA's Division I Council granted spring student-athletes an additional year of eligibility on Monday.
The decision allows schools to self-apply waivers for an extra year of eligibility for the spring student-athletes whose seasons had ended abruptly by the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension of eligibility greatly benefits fifth-year student-athletes.
“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. “The Board of Governors encouraged conferences and schools to take action in the best interest of student-athletes and their communities, and now schools have the opportunity to do that.”
The Council will also allow baseball teams an increase of their roster size limits - the only spring sport who had such a limit.
Seniors opting to return will not count towards the 35/27 roster limit according to D1Baseball's Kendall Rogers.
Financial aid rules were also adjusted to allow teams more scholarship members to accommodate for the incoming recruits and/or the senior student-athletes who opt to stay for an additional year.
In a nod to the financial uncertainty faced by higher education, the Council vote also provided schools with the flexibility to give students the opportunity to return for 2020-21 without requiring that athletics aid be provided at the same level awarded for 2019-20. This flexibility applies only to student-athletes who would have exhausted eligibility in 2019-20.
The winter-sport student-athletes also affected by the novel coronavirus were not included in the decisions made by the Council. The Council denied an extra year of eligibility for winter-sport student-athletes - including basketball.
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