The NCAA logo.

After a lot of discussion about how they would handle eligibility for athletes impacted by sports shutdowns around the COVID-19 coronavirus, the NCAA has ultimately decided to grant an extra year of eligibility to Division I athletes in spring sports. But they’re leaving the financial details on that up to individual schools, and they’re also not granting further eligibility for those in winter sports (such as basketball, where the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments were both canceled). Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic had that news Monday:

Here’s more from the official NCAA release there:

The Division I Council on Monday voted to allow schools to provide spring-sport student-athletes an additional season of competition and an extension of their period of eligibility.

Members also adjusted financial aid rules to allow teams to carry more members on scholarship to account for incoming recruits and student-athletes who had been in their last year of eligibility who decide to stay. In a nod to the financial uncertainty faced by higher education, the Council vote also provided schools with the flexibility to give students the opportunity to return for 2020-21 without requiring that athletics aid be provided at the same level awarded for 2019-20. This flexibility applies only to student-athletes who would have exhausted eligibility in 2019-20.

Schools also will have the ability to use the NCAA’s Student Assistance Fund to pay for scholarships for students who take advantage of the additional eligibility flexibility in 2020-21.

Division I rules limit student-athletes to four seasons of competition in a five-year period. The Council’s decision allows schools to self-apply waivers to restore one of those seasons of competition for student-athletes who had competed while eligible in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 spring season

So there are still obviously a lot of things to be figured out there, and this won’t work out for all athletes in spring sports. And those in winter sports didn’t receive any relief from this decision. But this is at least a partial step in the right direction, and one that will help some of the impacted athletes.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.