With the spread of the Covid-19 virus, one of the lingering questions for the NCAA was what to do with athlete eligibility with sports coming to a halt.
A decision was reached to give spring athletes, such as baseball and softball players, an extra year of eligibility. Winter sport athletes such as basketball players and wrestlers, however, will not be granted another year of eligibility, despite their postseasons being canceled.
Programs will be allowed to carry additional scholarships to accommodate seniors wishing to return for another year. A big question, however, is how many of those athletes will choose to do so. This SB Nation article explains things a bit, citing that some athletes could be forced to pay even more (with limited financial aid as schools will have the option to adjust the amount of aid given to seniors) to stay for another year. Other athletes, too, may just want to get on with their post-athletics lives upon graduation.
The decision was great for the spring athletes, obviously, and it was the correct call given those seasons were just getting started. This decision at least gives them the opportunity to finish their collegiate careers. However, winter sport athletes are feeling a bit left out given that things like the NCAA basketball and wrestling tournaments were canceled. And trying to decide eligibility for those athletes who had concluded their regular seasons is a tougher decision.
To the athletes in the winter sports, it’s a tough call and I don’t know that there’s any easy answer. But the reality is that you’re not going to be able to please everybody. Even incoming freshmen in the spring sports will be affected as some that had planned to play immediately may find themselves taking a backseat for a year due to returning players.
But at least a decision has been reached and it will allow the spring athletes to figure out their next steps.
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