Monday afternoon the NCAA Division I Council voted in favor to supplement an additional season of competition for all participating spring sports athletes who were affected by the shortened season, according to a press release by the NCAA. The NCAA and its board of governors voted on March 12 to cancel all winter and spring sports championships in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The council members have made new campus-wide financial aid rules allowing teams to carry additional student-athletes on scholarship including the incoming recruits and student-athletes who had been in their final season of eligibility. A vote from the council provides schools with the option to give student-athletes the opportunity to return for 2020-21 without requiring athletic aid be provided at the same level awarded for 2019-20. This ruling applies only to student-athletes who exercised their eligibility in the 2019-20 season.
“The Council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level,” said M. Grace Calhoun, council chair and director of athletics at the University of Pennsylvania. “The Board of Governors encouraged conferences and schools to take action in the best interest of student-athletes and their communities, and now schools have the opportunity to do that.”
Affected schools have the ability to use the NCAA’s Student Assistance Fund to pay for the student-athletes scholarships if the athletic programs decide to partake in the expanded eligibility during the 2020-21 season.
According to Division I rules, student-athletes are limited to four seasons of competition in a five-year period. The decision made by the council allows schools to utilize waivers for the athletes restoring their eligibility an extra year.
All winter sports were rejected in the vote due to having completed the majority of the season. Division I baseball rosters are set to be increased with the support of the council, which is the only sport for now that has mandated the option.
Stay tuned with North Texas Daily Sports for more updates and announcements regarding the NCAA’s ruling on winter and spring sports.