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NCAA to extend eligibility for canceled seasons, opt-outs

The NCAA plans to extend the eligibility for all players who had their seasons canceled or opted out due to COVID-19 concerns, the organization announced Wednesday.

The change is not final yet, it must be adopted by the Division I Board of Directors to achieve final approval. The rule also applies only to Division I, but it's expected Divisions II and III would follow suit since the fall football season has been totally wiped out at those levels.

The Division I Council's specific recommendation is to extend each athletes 5-year eligibility clock if their season is cut short, if they choose to opt out, or if they compete in 50 percent or less of the upcoming season.

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Wednesday's decision does not address if a spring football season would count toward each athlete's eligibility clock, an issue that is front of mind to every coach and player whose conferences have announced they will not play this fall.

The fear is that counting a spring season toward each athlete's 5-year clock would lead to a wave of opt-outs, making a spring season impossible.

The Council's decision also opens the door for a wave of players to opt-out four games into a 10-game season, leading coaches to fear their teams could have to forfeit the entire season if their team -- or their opponents -- get off to a 1-3 or 0-4 start.

The group also did not address the hypothetical of a season being shut down due to outside factors once a team has crossed the 50 percent threshold.

On Tuesday, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger argued the NCAA should pause the clock for all college football players, whether they play in the fall or the spring.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.