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NCAA grants extra eligibility to spring athletes

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Posted at 6:15 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 19:42:49-04

The NCAA Division 1 Council voted Monday to allow spring athletes whose seasons were cut short due to coronavirus concerns to compete for an additional season.

The council granted a blanket eligibility waiver, matching the waiver granted in lower divisions.

To help accommodate larger roster sizes, the NCAA also is adjusting financial aid rules to allow teams to carry more members on scholarship than previously allowed. Baseball programs were previously limited to 11.7 scholarships.

The move does create some financial uncertainty for some athletic programs who may not be able to afford an extra year of scholarships. Therefore, the council will allow programs to give seniors the opportunity to return without requiring they be provided with the same amount of aid they received this season.

Schools will also have the ability to use the NCAA's Student Assistance Fund to cover the scholarships of those seniors.

“The Council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Penn. “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.”

Spring sports include baseball, softball, tennis, golf and track.

Winter athletes, whose seasons were also cut short by COVID-19 concerns, are not included in the NCAA's decision.