NCAA gives approval to added year of eligibility, but no guidance to schools


The NCAA basically got a lateral from schools on player eligibility due to the current health crisis, shrugged and said they didn’t care, gave ’em the ball back and told ’em to do what they wanted.

The NCAA Division I Council voted Monday for to give spring sports seniors an added year of eligibility 17 days after the committee released a statement agreeing with the idea in theory in the wake of the NCAA canceling all spring championships because of the coronavirus.

Just because of simple financial reasons some schools will be able to deal with it better than others. From a financial standpoint, Power 5 schools won’t have much problem.

This affects just spring sports and not winter sports, most of which had concluded their seasons and the decision to cancel tournaments affected only postseason games.

Seniors will not be required to receive the same amount of aid in 2021 as they received in 2020, instead leaving that up to each individual school. Scholarship limitations were also adjusted and the roster limit in baseball was increased.

That is the only spring sport with a scholarship limitation.

The NCAA Student Assistance Fund to help pay for scholarships in 2020-21, as well.

“The Council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, the athletics director at Penn said in a release. “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.”

The Division II and Division III levels of the NCAA, as well as the NAIA and NJCAA, had already approved similar measures but they do not rely on a distribution check from the national organization in their operating budget.

Mid-major schools will be hit the hardest. It would have added about $2.5-3 million to Arkansas’ financial picture and cancelling the spring schedule in all sports probably saved at least that in expenses.

For the Razorbacks, over half of the seasons in baseball, softball, golf, tennis and outdoor track were the sports affected.

Baseball may have the biggest impact in Fayetteville as the Hogs had played just 16 of 56 regular-season games. It is also the sport lately that has had a huge impact on the economy in the area.


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