College athletes who were part of a spring sport that had its season cut short in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be allowed an additional season of eligibility, the NCAA voted. Athletes who participated in winter sports will not, however, get another year.
The NCAA Division I council on Monday announced the decision, but financial aid is not guaranteed and that will be up to the schools.
Michigan and Michigan State suspended their winter and spring sports seasons along with all athletic activity on March 12, also the same day the Big Ten announced it was canceling the remainder of those seasons because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said Monday night it is too early to comment until he gets all the details of the decision and discusses with his coaches and staff.
Schools will have the flexibility of deciding how much scholarship money, if any, will be provided to those student-athletes who decide to return. It could range from no money offered to honoring the scholarship aid awarded in 2019-2020.
Financial aid rules have been adjusted to allow teams to carry more members on scholarship which will account for the athletes who had been in their final year of eligibility this year, according to the NCAA decision.
Also according to the release, schools will be able to use the NCAA’s Student Assistance Fund to pay for scholarships for those who decide to return for the extra year.
Student-athletes have a five-year period to participate in four years of competition. This vote allows a one-year extension of eligibility and extends the five-year period.
“The Council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level,” Council chairwoman M. Grace Calhoun, Penn's athletic director, said in the release. “The Board of Governors encouraged conferences and schools to take action in the best interest of student-athletes and their communities, and now schools have the opportunity to do that.”
Winter sports like basketball were not included because most or all of their regular seasons were completed.