Reports: NCAA Recommends Eligibility Relief For Fall Sports Athletes

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Photo Courtesy: David Rieder

According to a report from The Washington Post citing the Associated Press, the NCAA will be giving a free year of eligibility “no matter how much they compete over the next 10 months” if an NCAA recommendation is approved later this week.

According to sources within the Associated Press, the NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday to recommend all athletes whose fall seasons will be altered by the COVID-19 pandemic should get the year of eligibility back. The Council have not confirmed an official announcement, as the proposal needs approval by the Division I Board of Directors, which will meet Friday. If approved, all fall sport athletes, whether they play this season or not, will not be docked one of their four years of eligibility.

A similar decision by the NCAA regarding last year’s spring sports season as the COVID-19 pandemic wiped away the entire spring season last year. The winter sport athletes who missed out on last year’s championships were not offered the same fate as they missed concluding their season.

This NCAA decision will provide fairness across the board as only six Division I conferences, including the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast, and the Big 12, have decided to go forward with the fall season with COVID restrictions in place, causing inconsistencies in statistics, rankings, and overall vibe of a season. The Big Ten, Pac-12, Mid-American and Mountain West Conferences are among the conferences that have postponed the fall sport seasons in hopes of playing an alternative football season in the spring.

Swimming and diving is a winter sport in the NCAA, and it is too early in the school year for any official decision regarding the fate of a season to be made. However, Arizona State has already redshirted its entire swim team, perhaps as a statement to the rest of the NCAA, and a potential pre-cursor to similar decisions nationwide.

The fall sports include cross country, field hockey, football, soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s water polo.

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