At least some college athletes will be able to get an extra year of eligibility if their final seasons were canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The NCAA’s Division II administrative committee announced Friday that spring sports athletes at the D2 level would get an extra year of eligibility if they were set to be seniors in 2020. All Division II spring sports have been canceled because of the pandemic.
“During this unprecedented period of time, it’s important that NCAA committees and the leaders who serve on them make decisions to best serve the needs of institutions, student-athletes and coaches,” South Carolina Aiken chancellor and Division II presidents council chair Sandra Jordan said in a statement. “These changes are the start of how we will adapt regulations and policies to help Division II move forward during a challenging period.”
The move puts the onus on the administrators that run Division I athletics to make a similar move and Friday afternoon the NCAA announced that there will be a vote on March 30 by the Division I council regarding spring sports eligibility.
While there are more complications at the DI level — athletes at the top level of college athletics typically have more professional opportunities than those at lower levels — giving players an extra year of eligibility is the right thing to do in this current climate. While scholarship caps would have to be adjusted and other logistical hurdles would have to be cleared by schools, every spring sports senior deserves to have the option of coming back to school in 2020-21.
Recruits can get reimbursed for canceled visits
The NCAA Division I council did make some decisions on Friday and one of them included allowing schools to reimburse recruits for canceled campus visits. As part of the coronavirus shutdown across sports, the NCAA instituted a recruiting dead period through April 15. That significantly impacted both spring and fall sports as football programs were scheduled to have recruits on campus during spring practice periods.
“The NCAA Division I Council and its Coordination Committee recognize that the decisions they make must be grounded in the values of higher education and must reflect the realities of the challenges facing higher education. This is certainly magnified during this unprecedented period resulting from COVID-19,” council chair Grace Calhoun said in a statement. “To that end, as an example, the Coordination Committee, acting on behalf of the Council, took timely action to address health and safety concerns among student-athletes, prospective student-athletes and coaches. The Coordination Committee identified other issues that lend themselves to full Council review and decision-making.”
NCAA still moving forward on name, image, likeness
After a tweet from a reporter suggesting that the NCAA would be using the coronavirus outbreak as a cover for stopping any work on name, image and likeness rules modifications for athletes, the NCAA said Thursday that it was still moving ahead with those discussions.
To correct inaccurate reports, NCAA divisions continue to examine NIL changes. pic.twitter.com/nvtnsR2kDp— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) March 19, 2020
The NCAA is likely going to change its NIL rules in some capacity to give players more rights to their own names and images. As awareness about players’ inability to profit off themselves grows, more and more states have passed bills conflicting with current NCAA rules that would allow college athletes to make endorsement and other income.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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