NCAA grants extra year of eligibility to spring athletes due to coronavirus

NCAA grants extra year of eligibility to spring athletes due to coronavirus
UH remained perfect on the year while also extending its tournament win streak to eight dating back to 2018. (Source: Hawaii Athletics)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Spring sport athletes who were unable to compete during the 2019-2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic have been officially granted an eligibility extension ― but not all of them will be able to take advantage of it.

The NCAA’s decision was announced Monday. It applies to athletes in sports like men’s volleyball, baseball and softball, effectively extending those individual’s eligibility by one year.

The ruling applies to underclassmen as well as to seniors, but it will be up to individual schools ― and not individual players ― to decide whether or not to apply for relief.

“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.”

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the University of Hawaii athletics department acknowledged the possibility that it might not be able to afford the extra costs associated with granting an additional year of eligibility to those athletes.

“We understand the situation that our spring sport student-athletes are in and are sensitive to them," said University of Hawaii Athletics Director David Matlin. "That said, we will continue to evaluate our options and do what is in the best interest for our athletic program as a whole in a fiscally responsible and thoughtful manner.”

University officials estimate that the total price tag associated with extending the eligibility of those who qualify at $600,000. The figure includes scholarship costs and other expenses, including housing allowances and textbook stipends.

Winter sports were not included in the decision, and athletes in sports like men’s and women’s basketball will not be eligible for another year of competition.

This story will be updated.

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