NCAA grants additional year of eligibility for spring sports athletes

From the NCAA:

Division I Board Extends Eligibility for Student-Athletes Affected by COVID-19

Schools may authorize an additional competitive season and an extension of their eligibility period

The Division I Board voted Monday to allow schools to offer spring sports student-athletes an additional season of competition and an extension of their eligibility period.

Members also adjusted financial aid rules to allow teams to have more scholarship members to account for incoming rookies and student-athletes who were in their final year of eligibility who decide to stay. In a nod to the financial uncertainty facing higher education, the Council’s vote also gave schools the option of giving students the option of returning for 2020-21 without requiring sports aid to be provided at the same level granted for 2019-20. This flexibility only applies to student-athletes who would have exhausted their eligibility in 2019-20.

Schools will also have the option of using the NCAA Student Aid Fund to pay scholarships for students who take advantage of the additional eligibility flexibility in 2020-21.

Division I rules limit student-athletes to four competitive seasons over a five-year period. The Board’s decision allows schools to self-enforce waivers to reinstate one of these competitive seasons for student-athletes who had competed while eligible for the COVID-19-shortened Spring 2020 season.

The Council will also allow schools to self-enforce a one-year extension to spring sports student-athlete eligibility, thereby extending each student’s five-year “clock” by one year. The move was especially significant for student-athletes who had reached the end of their five-year clock in 2020 and saw their seasons come to an abrupt end.

“The Board’s decision gives individual schools the ability to make decisions at the campus level,” said Board Chair Grace Calhoun, Penn’s Director of Athletics. “The board has encouraged conferences and schools to act in the best interests of student-athletes and their communities, and now schools have the opportunity to do so.”

Winter sports were not included in the decision. Council members declined to extend eligibility for student-athletes in sports where all or a large portion of their regular seasons had ended.

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