NCAA Unlikely to Grant Extra Year of Eligibility to Winter Sports Seniors

The NCAA is unlikely to grant an extra year of eligibility to those winter sports athletes affected by the coronavirus cancellations. Photo Courtesy: Cathleen Pruden

According to a tweet from Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, the NCAA is unlikely to grant an extra year of eligibility to seniors who participate in winter sports and had their seasons cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA is likely to give athletes in spring sports an extra year of eligibility because the majority of them lost their entire season due to all the cancellations in wake of the coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic caused the NCAA to cancel the entirety of the March Madness basketball tournament as well as the remaining winter sports championships. The Division I women’s swimming and diving championships were set to begin this week in Athens, Georgia while the men’s meet was supposed to take place the next week in Indianapolis.

The Division III championships were set for this week in Greensboro, North Carolina, while the Division II meet was canned last week after just three sessions.

The psych sheets for all three meets that hadn’t been contested yet were all finalized and it was expected to be three great weeks of NCAA swimming and diving competition. But it is looking like those meets will never be swum, and 2020 will forever have an asterisk in the history books.

Many great swimming careers will be left with a question mark at the end to wonder ‘what if?’ Abbey WeitzeilErika BrownBeata NelsonLouise HanssonColeman Stewart and Maxime Rooney are just some of the names that were not able to swim in their final collegiate meet before heading off to the ISL and bigger and better things.

We will be left to wonder what could have happened at NCAAs this year. In Division II circles, could McKendree have hung on and won the men’s title? Was this the year Queens’ streak came to an end at the hands of either UC San Diego or Drury?

In Division III, was this the year Denison would win their first women’s national title and end Emory’s 10-year winning streak? Would Kenyon take down Denison on the men’s side?

In Division I, the Cal – Texas men’s battle was expected to be just that – a battle. How could Maxime Rooney do in his one and only year with the Longhorns? Was Cal going to get its revenge after what happened at the Minnesota Invite? What records could have fallen?

Was this the year Stanford would finish off a perfect 4-year run? Katie Drabot and Erin Voss were two seniors on the Stanford team who had never experienced a loss in their four years – whether that be in duel meets, Pac-12’s, or in NCAAs. Could Stanford have pulled off their fourth consecutive title? Or was this the start of a winning streak for Virginia?

We will never know the answers to those questions. And that is a hard thing to swallow, especially since this whole ordeal is unprecedented.


  1. Pedro Pereira

    I will give the same suggestion I gave to our LSC:
    Reward the swimmers based on their psych sheet ranking. They all had their conference meets…reward what they have done through the season, so it’s not entirely wasted!!!

    • Rob Richardson

      Pedro Pereira interesting concept. But what about swimmers/relays that were DQ’d at conf meet and were hoping for a 2nd Chance? No good answers really

    • Pedro Pereira

      Rob Richardson definitely not the perfect solution. This is just to minimize their lost. Maybe some of those relays had a good nov/dec showing.

    • Pedro Pereira

      Rob Richardson If you get too detailed, there will always be the case of someone who didn’t fully taper for conference and were poised for a big show at ncaa. Or like you said, a relay that would probably become national champions.
      It just feels like this could be a reward for what the swimmers did/accomplish over the course of 95% of their season!

  2. avatar

    They don’t need to grant an extra year of eligibility, just an option to compete at next year’s NCAA’s, if they qualified this year. They could train and swim exhibition during the season. Scholarship not included in cap. Most seniors will move on, but they deserve that option.
    Get creative, and do the right thing.

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