NCAA Designing Reprieve for Athletes Affected by COVID-19 Conference Shutdowns

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NCAA Designing Reprieve for Athletes Affected by COVID-19 Conference Shutdowns

The NCAA Division I Council has recommended that fall athletes do not lose eligibility if they opt out of their sport due to COVID-19 concerns, or if the pandemic causes the cancellation of their seasons before half of the schedule is played. The Division I Board of Directors must pass the recommendation in a meeting on August 21, according to a report by Yahoo Sports!

Last spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic arose, winter sports championships were canceled while the entire spring sports season was wiped out. Spring athletes were awarded an extra year of eligibility due to their circumstances, but because winter sports had completed well over half of their seasons, those athletes were no given an extension.

“In this time of uncertainty, the Council members are working to create additional flexibility for college athletes whose seasons have been negatively impacted by the pandemic,” said Grace Calhoun, the University of Pennsylvania’s athletic director and Division I Council chair. “Every day things are changing in college sport, and we want to be as responsive as possible, with the best information, to help student-athletes and their families make important decisions for their future. The Council worked hard today and will seek membership input before we make final recommendations to the board next week.”

Already, the fall sports seasons of two major conferences, the Big Ten and Pac 12 have been postponed, with the hope they will be played during the spring. As far as swimming is concerned, the decisions by the Big Ten and Pac 12 will prevent practice and competitions during November and December. While the Big Ten and Pac 12 have shut down sports through January 1, 2021, the Big 12, SEC and ACC are planning to move forward with their fall seasons.

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