NCAA DI Council Grants Eligibility Waiver For Spring Sports Athletes Affected By COVID-19

Chaunte'l Powell

Monday evening the NCAA’s Division I council voted in favor of allowing schools to provide an extra year of eligibility to student-athletes participating in spring sports who were affected by COVID-19.

The idea was introduced shortly after the coronavirus outbreak caused the shutdown of all sports, but as of Monday more details have been hashed out.

Members of the council also adjusted financial aid rules in order to allow teams to carry more athletes on scholarship, which was a major concern when the decision was originally announced.

Schools will be able to use the NCAA’s Student Assistance Fund to pay for scholarship of student-athletes taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility.

The rule essentially allows all student athletes affected by the decisions made after the coronavirus outbreak to be eligible for a total of five seasons.

Winter sport athletes were not granted the same provisions as the council members declined to extend the eligibility due to the fact that the season was all but complete.  

In a teleconference held earlier this month, Frank Martin said trying to make amends for winter sports was “a delicate situation.”

He echoed the sentiments felt by the council.

“I’ll speak for men’s basketball…but the majority of seniors actually completed their careers. It’s not like they’re missing out on any games,” he said. “Then there was the small percentage of seniors that were going to have an opportunity to play in postseason basketball. Making a drastic decision for a small percentage, I don’t know how you grant the ones that maybe had a chance to play in postseason eligibility and then the ones that weren’t going to play in postseason, they’re not granted eligibility? I don’t know, I’m struggling with that right now myself. I’m not speaking for anybody, I’m speaking for myself. But I get it. That’s a hard decision and it’s a decision that eventually has to be made.”