The NCAA announced that all Division I winter sports athletes will be given an extra year of eligibility in a statement made Wednesday night. This decision comes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provides the same flexibility the NCAA previously granted spring and fall athletes.
“The pandemic will continue to impact winter sport seasons in ways we can’t predict,” said NCAA Division I Council chair M. Grace Calhoun. “The actions today ensure the continuation of local decision-making in the best interest of each institution and its student-athletes.”
Additionally, schools won’t need to have the minimum number of required sports to qualify as a Division I member, according to the press release. This requirement will be waived as long as schools had indicated they intended to sponsor the requisite number of sports but cannot due to COVID-19 challenges.
The council also passed a one-time rule change allowing all football programs to compete in a bowl game this season regardless of win-loss record.
“In keeping with the Division I membership’s desire to provide maximum flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council voted to allow as many student-athletes as possible the opportunity to participate in bowl games this year,” Calhoun said. “The decision also provides some certainty for schools and coaches as we move toward the postseason.”
The council also decided to move forward with two new proposals: one dictating how athletes would be allowed to make money from their name, image and likeness, as well as a rule allowing all athletes to transfer schools at least once with no penalty. The NCAA board of governors will vote on these proposals in January.
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