The NCAA's Division I Council granted an extra year of eligibility to all fall sports athletes – including football players – in mid-August, and it decided to take the same course of action with winter athletes this week.
All athletes competing in Division I winter sports, including basketball players, will receive an additional year of eligibility. The council's ruling was announced on Wednesday evening following videoconference meetings on that day and the prior day.
“The pandemic will continue to impact winter sport seasons in ways we can’t predict. Council members opted to provide for winter sport student-athletes the same flexibility given spring and fall sports previously,” said M. Grace Calhoun, the chair of the Division I Council and the University of Pennsylvania's athletics director. “The actions today ensure the continuation of local decision-making in the best interest of each institution and its student-athletes.”
All winter sport athletes will now be able to compete in their respective 2020-21 seasons without losing a year of eligibility, and seniors will be able to return for the 2021-22 season.
It's not clear yet whether the seniors who opt to return will count under the 13-scholarship limit. The NCAA did not dictate how that issue will be addressed in its press release, but Stadium's Jeff Goodman reported they will be exempt from the limit.