After the global COVID-19 pandemic forced the premature ending of NCAA sports in 2020, a silver lining for those spring sport athletes came Monday.
The NCAA Division I Council voted to authorize an additional season of competition for student-athletes participating in spring sports, the NCAA announced in a statement Monday evening. This grants an extra year of eligibility for athletes in baseball, softball, track and field, tennis, golf and rowing.
The decision to extend eligibility for spring sport athletes will be handed over to each university. According to the release, schools can self-apply waivers to restore one season of eligibility and apply a one-year extension of the five-year eligibility “clock” for each student-athlete.
“The Council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Penn. “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.”
While several winter sport championships were canceled, most notably men’s and women’s basketball as well as swimming and diving, winter sport student-athletes were not included in this decision and will not gain another year of eligibility.
The statement also laid out the groundwork for how the extensions will affect scholarships, stating that financial aid rules will be adjusted to allow for both incoming recruits and returning student-athletes to be members of the team. Additionally, the Council voted to allow schools to give students the opportunity to return in 2020-2021 “without requiring that athletics aid be provided at the same level awarded for 2019-2020.”
Texas will likely be greatly impacted on the softball diamond, as star pitcher Miranda Elish has already announced her intent to return for what would be her fifth year.
Miranda on Twitter
ONE MORE YEAR WITH MY GIRLS‼️ LETS GOOOOO
The Longhorns could also return some stars on the tennis court, as men’s seniors Yuya Ito and Christian Sigsgaard along with the Turati twins on the women’s side could play one final season on the Forty Acres.