NCAA Sports

NCAA Committee Granting Eligibility Relief for D-I Athletes in Spring Sports

The national office of the NCAA in Indianapolis is shown Thursday, March 12, 2020. The major conferences in college sports have canceled their basketball tournaments because of the new coronavirus, putting the celebrated NCAA college basketball tournament in doubt. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)Michael Conroy/Associated Press

As the NCAA continues to work through contingency plans to deal with the coronavirus, the organization has announced that the Council Coordination Committee will grant some form of eligibility relief to spring sport athletes across all Division I schools.

Spring sports, which include baseball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball, men’s volleyball and others, are the only sports to so far receive the relief, according to Stadium reporter Jeff Goodman. 

The committee has not yet made a determination on eligibility waivers for winter sport athletes, which includes men’s and women’s basketball. 

On March 12, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced the cancellation of the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments along with all remaining winter and spring championships. 

Shortly later, the Big 12 conference announced that beginning Friday it is suspending all regular-season competitions, offseason practices and recruiting efforts. The SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big Ten all took similar actions. That likely led to the NCAA’s decision to offer eligibility relief.

Though details of the eligibility relief are not yet finalized, this appears to be a progressive step toward ensuring student-athletes whose seasons came to an abrupt end are still able to continue playing next season without individual penalties. 

It remains to be seen how many senior athletes will take advantage of the relief when it becomes available. For instance, in baseball, the MLB draft occurs while the college postseason is underway. How and when the NCAA determines to offer eligibility relief could impact the decisions of college athletes who are considering turning pro. 

Currently the MLB draft is slated to begin June 10, however the league has currently suspended operations for at least two weeks due to COVID-19 and it is unclear when it will resume. 

The coronavirus has infected 1,264 Americans and left 36 dead, according to the latest tally by CNN. Worldwide, the virus has resulted in 132,567 confirmed cases and 4,947 deaths. 

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