Division I council grants another season to spring-sport student-athletes, winter-sport student-athletes not given extra eligibility

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The Division I Council voted to let schools give spring-sport athletes an extra season of competition and a longer eligibility period.

Although winter-sport seniors are done with NCAA competitions, spring-sport seniors will have a chance to make up for the season that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted.

The Division I council voted Monday in approval of letting schools give all spring-sport student-athletes an extra season for competition and a longer eligibility period, according to an NCAA news release.

Winter-sport student-athletes were not granted additional eligibility.

To factor in new recruits and returning spring-sport athletes who would have typically exhausted their eligibility, the Division I council modified financial aid regulations, permitting teams to have an increased number of student-athletes on scholarship. Baseball is the one spring sport with a roster cap, but the NCAA allowed teams to add current seniors to that cap.

Because of unknowns regarding schools’ financial situations, it is not mandatory for schools to offer the “same level” of athletics aid they offered this season to student-athletes who would normally run out of eligibility at the end of the 2019-20 season but are choosing to return next year. To provide scholarship money for those student-athletes, schools are allowed to utilize the NCAA’s Student Assistance Fund.

“The Council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level,” said council chair M. Grace Calhoun in the press release. “The Board of Governors encouraged conferences and schools to take action in the best interest of student-athletes and their communities, and now schools have the opportunity to do that.”