Vanderbilt Athletic Director Comments on NCAA Ruling
Nashville, Tn.- The NCAA made good the speculation concerning the possibility that the organization would allow spring sports senior athletes that had their final seasons of eligibility cut short because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic would be granted another year of eligibility.
Since that time, we have written about the issues for both student-athletes and the universities in the move by the NCAA, and in doing so we reached out to Vanderbilt for comment from athletics director Candice Storey-Lee.
On Tuesday, through athletic department officials, Lee issued a statement to Commodore Country.
“Our support of our student-athletes’ academic and athletic pursuits has not wavered throughout this period. As the NCAA's decision on an additional season of competition and eligibility for all spring-sport athletes relates to Vanderbilt, we will evaluate each student-athlete waiver on a case-by-case basis to help ensure that their pursuits and best interests are supported in the best ways possible."
That the university will take each student-athletes waiver on a case-by-case basis is not surprising because of the financial impact on the university.
Vanderbilt, though a member of a Power Five conference has the highest tuition costs per student, meaning that the university would endure the full cost of the scholarship for the extra season for each student-athlete it has returning for the extra season of athletic competition.
According to the NCAA ruling, only spring sports are included in the decision, meaning that all winter sports, including football and men's and women's basketball, are not granted another season.
Football completed the entirety of their season and both men's and women's basketball teams for Vanderbilt completed their seasons prior to the cancellation of the remainder of the men's SEC tournament and the NCAA Tournaments for both sports.
Because Vanderbilt is a private institution, the total number of student-athletes who attempt to return, and the number of those accepted and denied might never be known.
It is a tough situation for both the student-athletes and the university when the events precipitating this move were not caused by either the student-athletes or the university, but now both side must make decisions as to their futures because of this national emergency.