The NCAA has announced they will be further increasing their eligibility relief, specifically for fall sport athletes, amid uncertainty about the upcoming season during the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the new guidelines fall athletes, even if they compete in their sport’s full season, can apply to receive an extra year of athletic eligibility. In order to receive this athletes must apply for a waiver that the Division II Administrative Committee approved this week.
This change builds upon measures approved by the committee in July. In the initial announcement, athletes, regardless of what season they compete in, who compete in less than 50% of their university’s schedules season, can apply for an additional season of eligibility. For swimming and diving, this means that if a team competes in less than 6 meets (the maximum number of competitions in DII is 12), they can apply for a 5th season of eligibility. This waiver will still be offered for both winter and spring sports.
The committee also created a way to allow flexibility in team’s equivalency limits through the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years. As part of the announcement made this week, schools will be allowed to exempt athletics aid that would have been given to student-athletes in their final year of eligibility this season and who qualify to apply for an extra year of eligibility.
While not all schools and athletes will use this, the committee stated that it will serve as a “proactive measure to help schools navigate future budget and roster challenges.”
While men’s and women’s swimming and diving is a winter sport and women’s water polo is a spring sport, the newest waiver offering will have an impact on men’s water polo, which competes in the fall. The committee cited that, while some fall sports may be able to hold some form of season in the spring, it would look much different than previous seasons. Most men’s water polo conferences have stated that they hope to hold some form of competition season during the spring semester. Men’s water polo in the NCAA has only one division, the National Collegiate division.