NCAA answers coronavirus complications with favor for D1 springtime athletes

Amid the coronavirus crisis, the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 council voted to allow schools to extend eligibility for spring-season athletes for an additional season.

As a response to spring-time college sports being brought to an abrupt end due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Division 1 council has adjusted its rules so that universities and conferences could decide whether they wanted to grant another season to athletes, and how to adjudicate their scholarships.

Traditional Division 1 rules stipulate that student-athletes have four-year eligibility within a five year period. The Council vote will allow universities to extend athletes’ eligibility if they choose to do so. 

[RELATED: NCAA regulations shut down athlete’s coronavirus fundraiser]

“I think it’s tough to have to wait and not play for a while when we should be playing games and facing competition, but you have to move on and look at positives,” Gibson Krzeminski, a redshirt junior baseball player at Canisius College told Campus Reform.

“Personally I will use this time to try to get stronger and do as much baseball as I can because some guys may use this quarantine to stay inside,” said Krzeminski.

The vote could also mean a lot for those who were in their last year of eligibility looking forward to ending their last season on a good note. “I think there are seniors who will take advantage, some of them being on our team,” said Krzeminski. “We have a good group of guys who have worked very hard to get to where they are, so since they are getting another chance they will definitely do what they can to put them in a better spot than maybe where they started,” he added.

The vote also provided flexibility for the universities in distributing their athletic scholarships. 

According to the NCAA, aid rules have been adjusted so that universities are able 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.”

[RELATED: Here’s how colleges, students will benefit from the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package]

“The Council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at the campus level,” said Council Chair M. Grace Calhoun, Athletics Director at the University of Pennsylvania. 

“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,” Calhoun added.

The Division 1 council did not vote to approve an extension of eligibility for winter or fall sports, and only addressed sports seasons that were or were almost completely canceled. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter:@AlexTokie