The NCAA's Division I Council voted Monday to extend the eligibility of all spring sport athletes, who had their 2020 seasons canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The decision extended each athlete's clock by one year, giving spring athletes six years to play four instead of the customary five. For would-be graduating seniors, this means their schools can welcome them back, but they are not bound to provide the same level of aid that they did in 2020.
A baseball or softball player on full scholarship in 2020 can return on full scholarship again in 2021, or on a partial scholarship, or on no scholarship at all. The specifics have been left up to each school.
“The Council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level,” said Penn AD and Division I Council chair M. Grace Calhoun. “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.”
For baseball, scholarship limits have been relaxed for the 2021 season
Winter sports were not included in Monday's decision, an indication that seniors in those sports may have met their career's end.
The vote by the Division I Council is instructive as to how the NCAA establishment might react in the event the 2020 football season is canceled as well. How would teams roster, house and feed rosters approaching 150 players? Those are questions left for another day, and hopefully never answered at all.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.