NCAA Grants Extra Year Of Eligibility To Seniors Impacted By COVID-19 Virus

Greg Arias

The NCAA did the right thing on Monday when it voted to allow those seniors in spring sports who lost the majority of their seasons to return to school with one year of eligibility remaining in the wake of the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that has halted large portions of the world. 

While this is a good thing for student-athletes who were denied their final seasons, there is another side to the story, one that could also impact some athletes, specifically Group of Five schools along with Non-FBS and smaller division schools whos economic coffers don't run as deep as those in Power Five conferences.

Even though Vanderbilt resides in a Power Five conference and enjoys the benefits of vast amounts of athletic income, the Commodores could have some tough choices to make as well, but then they are in a somewhat unique position, at least in terms of baseball.

What tough decisions could Vanderbilt face because the NCAA did the right thing?

One, the cost of scholarships at Vanderbilt is the highest in the SEC and in the top ten percent nationally, meaning that for every senior athlete that returns to campus for another season, that's another scholarship the university must fund. 

Will the powers that be inside Kirkland Hall and McGugin Center be willing to take on that expense, and how many athletes might decide to take advantage of the opportunity.

Neither of those things can be known at this time, or in the next few weeks for that matter as both the school and the athletes weigh their decisions. 

 While the NCAA is allowing these athletes the opportunity to return, a statement released by the NCAA makes it clear that the ultimate decision lies with each individual school.  

“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 door is open for those student-athletes to return, the question is which schools will open the doors, and more importantly, the pocketbooks to welcome them back.  

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