NCAA Extends Extra Year of Eligibility to Spring Student-Athletes

Quierra Luck

Some major news is coming from the NCAA. 

Today, the committee voted on allowing Spring athletes an additional year of eligibility due to their season being shortened by the pandemic of the COVID-19. With the most confirmed cases in the world (currently), NHL, NBA, MLS, and MLB have all suspended their seasons indefinitely; some have the hopes of returning to resume seasons in late May or June. But with the recent "stay at home" order for states such as Virginia ending June 10th, those seasons continuing at the are now in jeopardy.

The NCAA released a statement regarding their decision,

The Division I Council on Monday voted to allow schools to provide spring-sport student-athletes an additional season of competition and an extension of their period of eligibility.

Members also adjusted financial aid rules to allow teams to carry more members on scholarship to account for incoming recruits and student-athletes who had been in their last year of eligibility who decide to stay. 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.

Schools also will have the ability to use the NCAA's Student Assistance Fund to pay for scholarships for students who take advantage of the additional eligibility flexibility in 2020-21.

It will be up to the school's discretion to offer some aid or zero, to returning athletes; they do not have to match their previous offer. This will alleviate straining scholarships for incoming athletes and those deciding to stay. The decision does not include athletes of winter sports such as basketball. The NCAA concluded that all or much of their season was already completed. There will be no winner for the NCAA Men and Women 2019-2020 basketball season.

"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."

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