NCAA Vote: D-I Winter Sports Athletes Will Not Receive Eligibility Relief

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.”


  • 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.


  • 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.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

I don’t think winter sports should get another year, but at least an option to compete at what would have been their last meet. A makeup NCAA championship meet/competition if you will.

You’re wrong
Reply to  Entgegen
1 year ago


Reply to  You’re wrong
1 year ago

I’m all for discussion but saying “wrong” and making your name “you’re wrong” isn’t a discussion. I have no idea whether you support another year for winter sport seniors or you oppose a makeup meet…

Kathleen Kinsey
Reply to  Entgegen
1 year ago

You have no idea how it works. One cannot just add a meet as prestigious as NCAA’s

Collegiate Swimmer
1 year ago

I’ve never been so glad that I’m too slow for NCAAs

Reply to  Collegiate Swimmer
1 year ago

Said no one ever.

Reply to  RenéDescartes
1 year ago

Seems like someone said it…

1 year ago

For the 1%, this sucks but if you look at the big picture, this would have made an insane impact on non power 5 universities. The cost of this will be substantial already for the spring sports and you have to imagine some schools are about to make very difficult decisions soon that many people will not agree with.

The NCAA was the nice guy here but in reality they just passed off the future blame to the individual universities.

Reply to  TheSwammer
1 year ago

well its the 1% that pretty much is talked about on this website.

Reply to  Meeeeeee
1 year ago

Seriously! The whining senior superstars asking for seniors only was unhelping.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

Read More »