NCAA Votes to Grant Winter Sports Athletes Additional Year of Eligibility

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The NCAA Division I council voted today in favor of winter sports athletes receiving additional year of eligibility, the NCAA has confirmed.

The COVID-19 pandemic first affected winter sports like swimming last year when the NCAA had to cancel the entirety of the winter sports championships, including the famed March Madness basketball tournament as well as the Division II swimming & diving championships halfway through the meet. The spring sports season was wiped out entirely, and the affected student athletes were granted another year of eligibility over getting their season taken away out of their control.

Some swim meets this season have been planned but there is no guarantee a national championship could be held, so it may be the best decision to allow to student athletes to use an extra year of eligibility if not every school can safely make it to the NCAA championships.

Fall sports in the NCAA have slowly come back, with three of the five Division I power conferences returning to football with the Big Ten set to join next week. The NCAA has already taken no chances on fall sports, allowing student athletes an extra year of eligibility if they did not or could not play this year because of the ongoing pandemic. But that decision did not affect swimmers or divers, since they fall under winter sports.

No swim teams have held meets yet with more than one team, as the SEC will return to competition at the end of the month with no championships at the end of the year just yet. The Big Ten will start competing in January, and the Pac-12 will follow suit.

The NCAA has not made any changes or adjustments yet as to what a national championship meet would look like, but the men’s meet is expected to be moved from Iowa City to Greensboro.


  1. Sharon Chocko Gallagher

    The additional year of eligibility only matters if parents are willing to pay tuition for another year. When will they get that???

    • Andrea Callahan Deege

      Sharon Chocko Gallagher some student athletes need an extra year anyway if they change majors or if they don’t come in with many credits. It is nice to have the extra year of eligibility for those who will be there.

    • avatar
      Brandi West

      True… but it at least gives kids a chance to come back for one more year. Better than no chance.

  2. Racina Stollings

    I think this is great news. Hopefully DII follows and does the same thing. I know a lot of people are questioning the money aspect, but for me, I’m happy because it gives kids options instead of limiting them.

  3. avatar

    Will D3 follow suit as well?
    It is the right thing to do!!