The suspense and drama is now over as the NCAA Council rendered their vote today on athletes that play spring sports and whether they would grant them a waiver for extra eligibility. Concerns about the financial implications had some doubting whether the NCAA Council would approve the measure today.

To put those concerns at ease, the NCAA also approved a measure that will increase the school’s level of aid given to seniors applying for a waiver and giving them the ability to grant eligibility and not grant any financial aid whatsoever.

The NCAA also had to approve teams being able to go above the scholarship limit standards. From the NCAA news release:

“Members also adjusted financial aid rules to allow teams to carry more members on scholarship to account for incoming recruits and student-athletes who had been in their last year of eligibility who decide to stay. In a nod to the financial uncertainty faced by higher education, the Council vote also provided schools with the flexibility to give students the opportunity to return for 2020-21 without requiring that athletics aid be provided at the same level awarded for 2019-20. This flexibility applies only to student-athletes who would have exhausted eligibility in 2019-20.

Division I rules limit student-athletes to four seasons of competition in a five-year period. The Council’s decision allows schools to self-apply waivers to restore one of those seasons of competition for student-athletes who had competed while eligible in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 spring season.” 

The Council also will allow schools to self-apply a one-year extension of eligibility for spring-sport student-athletes, effectively extending each student’s five-year ‘clock’ by a year. This decision was especially important for student-athletes who had reached the end of their five-year clock in 2020 and saw their seasons end abruptly.”

Winter sports were not included in the NCAA’s decision. This seemed to be due to the fact that all or much of their seasons were finished by the time the NCAA made the decision to cancel those championships.

The effect of this measure on spring sports is still yet to be determined. Baseball is going to be an interesting case, because draft-eligible juniors will be expecting a potential reduction in MLB draft rounds this year. This very well could make some choose to stick around and still have two years of eligibility.

This will definitely be interesting to watch as it unfolds. Especially through spring and into early summer as the MLB Draft takes place.

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