NCAA Board approved added year of eligibility and athlete protections


The Sundial file photo

The NCAA voted to allow fall sports championships to be played in the spring on Friday.

Andres Soto, Sports Editor

The NCAA Division I board of directors adopted the Division I council’s recommendation of working toward hosting a scaled-back version of fall championships in the spring on Friday. The board met via video conference and also voted to adopt added protections for athletes, including an extra year of eligibility for all fall athletes and an extra year to complete it.

The council recommended on Wednesday that all fall championships should be played in the spring since more than half of all Division I schools cancelled or postponed their fall seasons.

“We want to provide opportunities for student-athletes whenever possible,” acting board chair Denise M. Trauth said in a release. “We understand it will be complicated and different, and we’re not certain how it will look. But we believe it’s important to try to give students that championship experience.”

In addition to the added year of eligibility and extension of their “clock,” a five-year window in which an athlete must complete their eligibility, other protections for players were passed by the board.

The board ruled that schools cannot require athletes to waive their legal rights in regard to COVID-19 in order to participate in their sport. Schools also cannot take away or reduce an athlete’s scholarship in any sport if they opt-out of their season due to the coronavirus.

Financial aid for seniors who use their extra year of eligibility will not count against team limits for 2021-22. Athletes not enrolled full-time in classes during the fall 2020 term now have flexibility in the “progress-toward-degree” requirement for eligibility in future terms.

Schools are also required by the board to review the current insurance coverage for all athletes competing this fall, inform the athletes about the risk classification of their sport according to the NCAA’s “Resocialization of College Sports” document and inform them how their campus is meeting the mandates outlined in the document.

According to the board, all protections are effective immediately.