All NCAA Division I winter sport athletes have been granted an additional year of eligibility due to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA Division I Council met this week and voted to approve it to provide opportunity and flexibility to the student athletes despite the tremendous amount of uncertainty.
In addition to the extra year of eligibility, the NCAA also will also allow all football programs to compete in bowl games for this season, regardless of their records.
The NCAA Division I Council had previously granted an additional year of eligibility for all fall and spring sports due to the pandemic.
“The pandemic will continue to impact winter sport seasons in ways we can’t predict. Council members opted to provide for winter sport student-athletes the same flexibility given spring and fall sports previously,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun per release. “The actions today ensure the continuation of local decision-making in the best interest of each institution and its student-athletes.”
This news may come as a surprise to some after the NCAA announced there would be a 2020-2021 season as teams are now practicing and preparing for it. Theoretically, you could have players who compete collegiately for five seasons. This decision will be largely impactful to some from a recruiting standpoint, especially the 2021 class. Teams will have players decide to move on following this season, others may want to stay. The recruiting boards and planning for the future from a roster standpoint makes that planning difficult. Tough decisions will need to be made at the end of the season on roster positions and scholarships offered.