NCAA Division I Council Decides Fall Athletes Can Compete Without Losing a Season of Eligibility

By Kevin Harrish on August 19, 2020 at 6:19 pm
Players will get more eligibility.

The NCAA's Division I Council has decided to effectively give all fall sports athletes an extra season of eligibility.

The Division I Council made a formal recommendation on Wednesday that student-athletes in all fall sports will preserve this season of eligibility regardless of how many competitions they take part in this year.

The decision still need to be approved by the NCAA Board of Directors, which is scheduled to meet Friday.

Per Wednesday's announcement, athletes who return for an additional year of eligibility will not count against team scholarship limits in 2021-22. It's unclear whether any scholarship limit relief will be provided beyond the 2021 season, however, as an additional year for all athletes could end up leading to backlogged rosters for the next four to five years.

For that reason, Ohio State coach Ryan Day said last Wednesday that he would only be in favor of athletes receiving an additional year of eligibility if there was no season at all, but not if a season took place in the winter or spring.

“If we play in the spring, then it won’t matter as much,” Day said. “If we can get the season, then those guys, they played a season and then we move on. But if there’s no season, then I think they should, yes.”

The Division I Council also recommended that schools should be prohibited from requiring student-athletes to waive legal rights regarding COVID-19 as a condition of athletics participation and prohibited from canceling or reducing athletics scholarships if a college athlete in any sport opts not to participate due to COVID-19. 

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