The 2019-20 Little 500 season will not be counted as a year of eligibility for riders, according to an email sent by race director Andrea Balzano on Thursday.
One year of eligibility is lost when a student is listed on a team’s qualification list or final four race day list, according to the 2020 Little 500 Manual. Since this year’s qualifications and races were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, riders didn’t use one of their four years of eligibility.
Seniors have the ability to return next year to participate in the race. However, athletes who have graduated are considered ineligible to compete with the exception of international students who are completing a one-year exchange program as an undergraduate.
In order to exercise their extra year as a rider, athletes would need to be scheduled to graduate in May 2021 or later.
“Little 500 riders are students first and athletes second,” Balzano said in the email to riders and coaches. “It is the hope of IUSF that you continue on with your path to graduation as planned.”