The NCAA Divison I Council has voted to grant a year of eligibility to Division I student-athletes who compete in spring sports after a mass cancellation by the organization in early March, but it did not approve the same relief for winter sports athletes.
That means athletes who compete in swimming and diving – which are winter sports – will not get another year. Women’s water polo players are among those who will receive an extra year.
“Winter sports were not included in the decision,” the NCAA said in its announcement. “Council members declined to extend eligibility for student-athletes in sports where all or much of their regular seasons were completed.”
The decision gives schools the financial flexibility to apply scholarships as they see fit. The Council voted that schools need not provide scholarships at the same level awarded for 2019-20 for a returning senior in the 2020-21 season. Additionally, financial aid rules will “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.”
NCAA SPRING SPORTS
- Men’s baseball
- Women’s softball
- Men’s and women’s golf
- Men’s and women’s lacrosse teams
- Women’s rowing
- Men’s and women’s tennis
- Men’s and women’s outdoor track and field
- Men’s volleyball and women’s beach volleyball
- Women’s water polo
The move comes after the NCAA canceled all winter and spring championships, which essentially left all spring athletes without any competition for the season. The cancelations for winter sports included the NCAA Basketball Tournament, March Madness, and the men’s and women’s Division I and Division III Swimming & Diving Championships. The Division II Swimming & Diving Championships were called off midway through the competition.
WINTER SPORTS CHAMPIONSHIPS CANCELED
- Men’s and women’s basketball
- Men’s and women’s swimming (Division II canceled 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 (canceled midway through)
- Men’s and women’s indoor track and field (Division II canceled midway through)
Many swimmers, particularly seniors, have led the call for winter sports athletes to also get another year of eligibility. Last week, Texas seniors Maxime Rooney and Jack Collins penned a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert urging him to consider granting senior athletes in winter sports another year.
Over the weekend, the Student Athletic Advisory Committees from the Power 5 conferences released a joint statement proposing that any student-athlete who did not “complete their championship season” should have the opportunity to pursue an additional year of eligibility.