NCAA Agrees Eligibility Relief Appropriate For Spring Sports; Winter Sports Still Uncertain

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Amidst the coronavirus outbreak that has wiped out the remaining seasons for NCAA winter & spring sports across the country, the NCAA has agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I athletes who have participated in spring sports. Details of eligibility will be finalized at a later time.

The NCAA released this statement:

Council leadership agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes who participated in spring sports. Details of eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time. Additional issues with NCAA rules must be addressed, and appropriate governance bodies will work through those in the coming days and weeks. 

However, this only seems to apply to spring sports, which encompasses baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and women’s water polo, among others. The NCAA has not provided any clarification on what will happen to those winter sports, like basketball or swimming and diving, athletes who missed out on competing at their respective championships that were set for the month of March.

Although it appears that a decision may be made sometime in the near future regarding that.

The NCAA announced on Thursday that it would be cancelling the remainder of the winter sports championships, including the entirety of the March Madness basketball tournaments and the Division I & III swimming and diving championships. The Division II swimming and diving championships, which began Wednesday without a hitch, and continued Thursday morning without spectators, was cancelled after just three sessions.

There has been an online petition going around since the news of the cancellation, calling for the NCAA to grant another year of eligibility to those affected by the coronavirus cancellations.

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We’re trying to rally together other students-athletes being affected by the drastic measures concerning Corona Virus that is robbing individuals of eligibility, finishing their careers, or simply playing their sport. We spend our lives making sacrifices and investing in our sports. For seniors, they deserve closure and being able to finish their sport and season on their own terms. We have been silenced and handcuffed as an athletic population. We are raised as elite athletes to stop at nothing and that’s exactly what we are doing with our #redshirtcoronayear movement. There is strength in numbers. We are trying to gain as much awareness and rally together as many athletes as possible. It is more than just taking away our sport, this is our life. We are only given 4-5 precious years of eligibility. We plan to make them count. #redshirtcoronayear

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Many senior swimmers have expressed their sorrows for missing out on a chance to close out their NCAA careers.

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Well, I never thought this is how my NCAA career would end but here we are. Over the last four years, I’ve made some of the best friends in my life and met some of the greatest people along the way. To the Pack By God, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys have been what has pushed me through the hardest workouts and my darkest days. You have shaped me into the man I’ve become. To the coaches who have helped me along the way, I would be nowhere without you. @bradenholloway , you took a chance on a skinny kid from York and I am forever grateful. We’ve done some amazing things and there’s a hell of a lot more to come. To underclassmen and future college swimmers, cherish each race like it’ll be your last. Race each time like its your last. Swim with as much pride as you will in your last swim. As we’ve all learned, you may never know when it’ll end. Our entire class will never have that definitive last swim. No last chance to get those chills down your body behind the blocks. No chance to cheer your teammates on from the side. No waiting for the starter to say take your mark because the crowd is still cheering for that last relay. No tears on the podium knowing you’ve done everything for your teammates. No hugs to the coaches on deck and thanking them for all they’ve done. This is an awful way for us to end, but we’re in it together. This isn’t it for me, it’s a see you soon. We still got work to do. Long live the Pack By God♦️

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No one could have predicted that this is how so many athletes college careers would come to a close. My heart breaks for all my fellow senior student athletes. I know it may not make sense right now but everything happens for a reason and no competition is more important than the health and safety of the people we love most. I didn’t get to compete at my final NCAAs but I am walking away with something way more important, memories and relationships that will last a lifetime. I am forever grateful to have represented the red and white. One chapters closes and another one opens! Thank you to all my teammates, coaches, support staff, friends & family for guiding and supporting me in this journey! I am a forever a badger ❤️ 🤍❤️U Rah Rah Wisconsin 🦡

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