NCAA gives spring student-athletes an extra year of eligibility amid COVID-19

The NCAA Division I Council voted Monday afternoon to grant all student-athletes participating in spring sports — not just seniors — an extra year of eligibility.

The decision comes almost three weeks after the NCAA sent out a press release announcing the cancellation of the remaining winter sports and all spring sports due to COVID-19.

Spring sports include baseball, golf, outdoor track and field, softball, tennis and volleyball, among others.

In the same vote, the NCAA voted not to grant those participating in winter sports another year of eligibility. 

Winter sports include basketball, gymnastics and indoor track and field, among others.

While the ruling brings spring student-athletes an extra year of competition, it also means schools must decide to whom they should give their roster spots. 

NCAA President Mark Emmert noted that athletics programs’ revenue could lead to smaller schools struggling. 

“… [Schools] sent their students away, but they still have all of their costs,” Emmert said. ”They’re not going to have any revenue from their endowments because of the … stock market [crash]. The revenue from the tournaments isn’t going to be there, and the revenue from us is unlikely to be as big as it has been in the past.”

Emmert understands that more well-known athletics programs get steady revenue. That said, the line between the top-tier and mid-major schools is wide. Beyond the competition, Emmerted out how the business side of college sports is unique.

“You have to remember that college sports is, of course, something 1,100 different schools do, and the business models for all of them are very different,” he said.

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament’s Final Four in Atlanta would have begun Saturday with the semifinals. The national championship would have been next Monday.