CSCAA Opposes Extra Year of Eligibility for NCAA Winter Athletes

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The College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association (CSCAA) has issued a statement about the eligibility issue in question after winter sports saw their seasons end prematurely because of the coronavrius pandemic.

The NCAA has announced that since the spring sports seasons were canceled altogether, that there would be an extra year of eligibility given to those spring athletes. Some winter athletes who have missed out on their championships or NCAA tournaments have come forward and asked the NCAA to consider granting the same for winter athletes.

It is a situation that could affect scholarship numbers, team sizes and other issues — reasons that the CSCAA does not support extra eligibility years for winter sports.

The CSCAA released this statement:

In light of the NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee’s support of eligibility relief for athletes in Spring sports, the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association is compelled to express our opposition to similar relief to Winter athletes. While this position may be counter-intuitive, our rationale behind this decision is twofold.

  1. We expect COVID-19 will have a devastating impact on institutions and athletic departments. Granting an additional year of athletic grants-in-aid would create an additional burden on schools and necessitate cutbacks elsewhere. While the cancellation of the NCAA Championships is disappointing to everyone involved, especially those invited to participate, any decision that could increase the likelihood of teams being eliminated is not something we can support.

  2. Granting an additional year of eligibility would create an unfair advantage for those institutions with postgraduate programs. It would further incentivize the recruitment of student-athletes from their current roster.  From an ethical and equitable standpoint, this is not something we can support.

While we empathize with every coach and student-athlete, and especially the 360 seniors who saw their season or career come to an abrupt end, we must acknowledge that 22,076 swimmers and divers completed their season prior to the cancellation of the NCAA Championships.  Any effort to provide relief for the few, while admirable, jeopardizes opportunities for the rest of our sports.

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