2020 Big Ten Diver of the Year Michigan Wolverine Ross Todd is now among the recent wave of athletes who will take advantage of the NCAA waiver that awards all athletes who competed in the 2020-2021 collegiate season an extra year of eligibility because of the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A native of Adelaide, Australia, Todd will use his extra year of eligibility following a 2021 championship season performance that didn’t live up to his junior-year performance. At the 2020 Big Tens, Todd was the conference champion in the 1-meter diving event along with taking 2nd on 3-meter and 3rd on platform before the NCAA Championship meet was eventually canceled.
Just after the complicated fall/winter pandemic months of the 2020-2021 season, Todd placed 5th on 1-meter, 6th on platform, and 9th on 3-meter at the 2021 Big Ten Championships. At his first NCAA meet in two years, Todd placed 17th on the platform event and 35th on the 3-meter event.
Along with head diving coach Mike Hilde returning for a finalized 2021-2022 Michigan coaching staff, Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medalist Michael Hixon will return to the diving staff as a graduate assistant. Hixon began working with Michigan as a graduate assistant last season while attending the Ross School of Business. During his collegiate career, Hixon earned NCAA Diver of the Year as Texas freshman before becoming the NCAA Champion as an Indiana senior. Hixon is also a two-time Olympic silver medalist on the 3-meter synchronized springboard diving event, pairing with Sam Dornan in Rio 2016 and Andrew Capobianco in Tokyo 2020.
Among swimmers who will return next season for the Wolverines is Maggie MacNeil, who won NCAA titles in the 100 fly and 100 free and was the runner-up in the 50 free last season. She is also the defending World Champion and Olympic Champion in the LCM 100 fly. MacNeil is currently entered in the NCAA transfer portal, but says that she plans to finish the 2021-2022 academic year at Michigan before exploring her options for the COVID-awarded 5th year.
In October 2020, the NCAA granted all winter sport athletes the option to use an extra year of eligibility following complications from the COVID-19 pandemic. Under normal circumstances, Division I student-athletes have a 5-year window during which they can use up their four seasons of eligibility. However, given the current situation with COVID-19, student-athletes of all class years have been offered an additional season of eligibility, regardless of where they are in their 5-year window. For a detailed breakdown on what the stakes are surrounding a 5th-year decision in 2021, click here.