Student athletes participating in NCAA Division I winter sports will be granted an extra year of eligibility, according to a news release from the NCAA Division I Council Wednesday.
The council voted to approve the measure in meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“The pandemic will continue to impact winter sport seasons in ways we can’t predict,” Council chair Grace Calhoun said in the release. “The actions today ensure the continuation of local decision-making in the best interest of each institution and its student-athletes.”
Previously, the NCAA granted all spring and fall sport athletes another year of eligibility regardless of how their sport was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self told the Kansas City Star Tuesday he was in favor of the NCAA granting winter sport athletes an extra year of eligibility “from a fairness standpoint.”
“The fall sports … they are having a season and are going to have a championship,” Self told The Star.“I can’t imagine they would take the postseason away from the players last year, give everybody else an extra year this year and not do that for the winter sports.”
Calhoun said the council’s motivation was to give as much flexibility to student athletes as possible amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"We felt it was important to make this decision now so student-athletes had the peace of mind to go into this season and compete," Calhoun told ESPN Wednesday. "They know they can regain that eligibility and have their clock automatically extended so they're not taking that chance on the front end if they choose to compete."