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SAAC reps make recommendations to NCAA on COVID-19 eligibility relief

SAAC reps make recommendations to NCAA on COVID-19 eligibility relief

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A group of 60 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representatives from Autonomy Conferences released a letter with recommendations to the NCAA Division I Council regarding its vote on eligibility relief for players affected by COVID-19 shutdowns.

The letter — which includes signatures from University of Wisconsin women’s golfer Tess Hackworthy, the school’s SAAC president, and women’s rower Eden Rane — outlines three requests regarding financial and eligibility relief.

The NCAA Division I Council is scheduled to vote on eligibility relief Monday afternoon.

“We are aware that eligibility relief presents extreme challenges for universities and the NCAA. Our job is to stand up for what we believe is right and fair for athletes,” the letter states.

The group is requesting “immediate support” for housing and food for student-athletes. With many campuses shut down during the pandemic, access to food is an issue the group wants member institutions to remedy. It suggests more awareness and access to the Student Assistance Fund, which is intended to assist in covering student-athletes’ non-athletics-related costs while attending an institution.

“If the NCAA focuses merely on eligibility relief and does not aid those who are unsafe and unable to pay for food and shelter, then we have already failed our peers as collegiate athlete leaders,” the group wrote.

The group requests that all athletes that did not have the opportunity to complete their championships season be given an extra year of elgibility. That would include all Division I spring sport athletes as well as winter sports athletes who qualified for postseason events that were canceled.

The third request is to have returning seniors’ scholarships renewed and those scholarship not count toward financial aid limits.

“Roster limits and competition fields should also be expanded to accommodate returning seniors and incoming freshmen,” the group wrote.

“Now, more than ever, it is imperative for our college athlete community to unify and support each other by standing up for what accurately represents the unified voice of college athletes. We are United as One.”

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SAAC letter to NCAA

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