The NCAA granted all Division I athletes who play fall sports an extra year of eligibility and a year to complete the request in a blanket waiver. Fall sport athletes joined spring players to receive an extra year because of the global pandemic.
According to a statement from the NCAA, all fall sport student-athletes will receive an additional year of eligibility along with an additional year in which to complete it. The move gives student-athletes who don’t enroll full-time during the 2020 fall semester flexibility as fall sports seasons remain up in the air for some schools.
For seniors who receive the blanket waiver, it will not impact scholarships for their teams for the 2021-2022 academic year. In addition to seniors scholarships, if seniors choose to come back for the 2021-2022 season, it will not impact the team’s roster.
According to CBS Sports, the NCAA’s announcement Friday did not mandate that schools fund the scholarships of seniors for an additional year; this adopted rule merely allows for the temporary expansion of scholarship limits to accommodate seniors who do opt to return for an additional season.
As many players saw their fall season postponed, suspended or canceled, the decision includes other protections for student athletes. Conferences such as the Big Ten and Pac-12 have postponed their seasons. Others like the ACC and SEC are still set to compete in the fall. Regardless of if the season is played or not, fall student athletes will still receive that extra year of eligibility. The NCAA wants to ensure its athletes are protected from losing their scholarships if they choose to opt-out of the season.
Because of the changes this season, fall championships will also be moved to the spring. Acccording to ESPN, the NCAA Board of Directors, “made a commitment for Division I to work toward hosting ‘scaled-back fall championships in the spring.’” The championship games will have to follow local, state and federal COVID-19 protocols. Denise Trauth, the acting board chair and president of Texas State, knows this year will be different, but feels that student athletes still deserve the chance to compete despite the circumstances.
“We want to provide opportunities for student-athletes whenever possible,” Trauth told Sports Illustrated. “We understand it will be complicated and different and we’re not certain how it will look. But we believe it’s important to try to give students that championship experience.”
The NCAA will prioritize student-athletes who did not finish or complete their winter or spring season.
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