After the NCAA Division I council granted winter sport student-athletes an extra season of eligibility earlier this month amid the ongoing uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, Division II and Division III councils have made steps in the same direction.
For Division II, a proposal to grant an extra season of competition to winter-sport student-athletes who compete during the 2020-2021 academic year was approved by the Management Council this week. In addition, student-athletes eligible for the waiver will also receive an extension of eligibility.
This is the same flexibility given to athletes that had their spring 2020 season cut short by the pandemic and those who were scheduled to compete in the fall 2021 season.
Financial aid flexibility was previously granted to schools, exempting from limits any aid given to student-athletes who would have exhausted their eligibility during this academic year, so long as they remain at their current schools.
The Division III Management Council has forwarded a similar proposal to the Presidents Council.
The blanket waiver request would not charge student-athletes a term of attendance for any term (semester/quarter) during the 2020-21 academic year in which they were eligible for competition.
The council noted that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to dramatically affect higher education at least through the end of this academic year and likely beyond, and student-athletes are feeling the impact from both an academic and athletics perspective. The uncertainty regarding the extent of their athletics participation and the related eligibility repercussions contribute to a growing list of concerns for student-athletes.
The Management Council also approved the reduction of winter and spring sports championships by 25%, also well as new sanitization and testing protocols for the Division III National Championship events in those seasons. The new protocols are expected to add around $9 million in costs.