NCAA “Unlikely” To Grant An Extra Year Of Eligibility To Winter Athletes

The NCAA is reportedly unlikely to grant an extra year of eligibility to the winter sport athletes who had their seasons cut short due to the coronavirus, per a tweet from Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

This comes after the organization granted a year of eligibility relief to the athletes competing in spring sports, who had barely gotten their season underway when the NCAA pulled the plug on remaining athletic championships last Thursday.

Both the Division I and Division III NCAA releases indicate all athletes, not just seniors, will be granted an extra year of eligibility.

Whether or not the winter athletes would get be given an extra year has been a hot topic for debate over the last six days. While it would open up several complications with a full incoming freshman class, including scholarship money, essentially every winter sport saw their championship competition cancelled. Three events — Division II Swimming & Diving, Skiing, and Division II Indoor Track and Field — were brought to a halt midway through.


  • Men’s and women’s basketball
  • Men’s and women’s swimming (Division II cancelled midway through)
  • Men’s wrestling
  • Men’s and women’s ice hockey
  • Men’s and women’s gymnastics
  • Women’s bowling
  • Men’s and women’s fencing
  • Men’s, women’s and mixed rifle
  • Men’s, women’s and mixed skiing (cancelled midway through)
  • Men’s and women’s indoor track and field (Division II cancelled midway through)

The Women’s Division I Swimming & Diving Championships was scheduled to get underway Wednesday night and run through until Saturday, March 21, in Athens, Georgia. The Division III Championships were scheduled for the same weekend in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the men’s D1 meet was initially supposed to be run the following week in Indianapolis.

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Blathering Blatherskyte
4 years ago

Not that they’re the end-all be-all, but here’s the statement put out by the national track coaches association about it all:

“In an effort to address these lost opportunities, as well as future eligibility and financial challenges that student-athletes will face, the USTFCCCA Board of Directors unanimously recommends that the following items are adopted by the NCAA:

Grant an additional season-of-competition for all current student-athletes in winter and spring sports.
All winter- and/or spring-sport student-athletes who were scheduled to exhaust his/her eligibility in the 2019-20 academic year be permitted to receive the same amount of countable athletic aid, during the 2020-21 academic year. Provided the student-athlete returns to his/her current institution, this aid shall be exempt from counting… Read more »

4 years ago

Why wouldn’t the NCAA consider rescheduling championships for the winter season sports to this summer? I know skiing would be tough to do, but every other sport could make that work.

4 years ago

When you consider the logistics of continuing swimming after your senior year. Graduate school? Aditional tuition. There are many factors that would prevent swimmers and other college athletes from being able to use an aditional year of eligibility. I think the NCAA should offeri the winter athletes an extra year to compete if they are availiable. They deserve it. Especially division III because there is no schloarship money available the championships are a huge part of the reward for all of their hard work. All of these athletes worked so hard to reach goals this season just like every season and they just had the rug pulled out from under them. Throw them a bone.we all could use some good… Read more »

4 years ago

Completely unfair…for instance a good number of kids and spectators became ill at and after being sent directly into a red zone in Seattle…at the very least seniors should have a full senior year,

Reply to  Swimmom
4 years ago

and once again….totally disregard the underclassman who worked hard and achieved a NCAA invite! ALL swimmers who received a NCAA invite should be eligible for relief should the NCAA see fit. Those who did not receive an invite lost nothing. Their season was over!

Swimmer A
4 years ago

I don’t wanna be that guy, but the vast majority of winter athletes had their season end before the COVID-19 crisis. Conference championships ended before all of this. It would be more unfair to essentially grant 90% of athletes a 5th year.

4 years ago


William Roberts
4 years ago

page 4 in the 2019 20 NCAA Division I manual lists Principles of Conduct of Intercollegiate Competition. 2.10 is “The Principle for Competitive Equity.” This principle states; The structure and programs of the Association and the activities of its members shall promote opportunity for equity in competition to ensure that individual student-athletes and institutions will not be prevented unfairly from achieving the benefits inherent in participation in intercollegiate athletics.
Not sure if this argument would raise an eyebrow inside the minds of those who will ultimately make the decision on a winter sport waiver. However, I do believe this principle applies especially if waivers are going to be granted to spring sports.
What we all know is that… Read more »

MaizeBlue blues
4 years ago

Well that just sucks. Some collegiate swimmers have more than just their last meet, many are still prepping for their Oly trials, that many countries have now also cancelled/postponed. But there are also those that NCAA’s would be their last meet as seniors. Bummer all around.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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