NCAA announces changes to recruiting, eligibility in response to COVID-19

Marcus Krum and Myah Taylor

Editor’s note: This story is part of The Daily Texan’s coverage of how coronavirus concerns are affecting UT-Austin. Read the rest of our coverage here.

The NCAA released new changes Friday regarding recruiting and spring sport eligibility amid the COVID-19 concerns.

As of Friday afternoon, recruiting for all sports — both on- and off-campus — is suspended until April 15 due to COVID-19 concerns, the NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee announced in a statement. 

“The Council leadership put in place an immediate ban on in-person recruiting for Division I coaches. Additionally, the group advises schools to suspend any official and unofficial visits to campus from prospective student-athletes,” the statement said. “This recruiting dead period will be in place until at least April 15, at which time the Division I Council Coordination Committee will evaluate. Telephone calls and written correspondence are allowed during dead periods.”

In another statement, the committee announced that it will grant “eligibility relief” to Division I spring sport student-athletes.

“Council leadership agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes who participated in spring sports,” the statement said. “Details of eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time. Additional issues with NCAA rules must be addressed, and appropriate governance bodies will work through those in the coming days and weeks.”

The NCAA has not yet announced any changes to eligibility for winter sport athletes.

The recruiting and eligibility changes come a day after the NCAA canceled all remaining winter and spring NCAA Championships, including the annual March Madness tournament, as a preventative measure against the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Ahead of the NCAA’s announcement, the Big 12 Conference suspended all regular-season athletic competitions, on- and off-campus recruiting, and offseason practices until March 29. As a result of the conference’s decision, all Longhorn Athletics events were canceled until that date, University of Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said in a statement on Thursday.

With the status of the remainder of the regular-season of spring sports still undecided, Texas’ softball, baseball, track and field, tennis and swimming teams will all be affected by the NCAA’s eligibility relief.