NCAA votes to grant extra eligibility to spring athletes, not winter athletes

The NCAA voted on Monday voted to allow an additional year of eligibility for spring athletes. The Division I Council, however, did not approve an extra year of eligibility for winter sports athletes. As college athletics work to adjust to seasons that were interrupted by COVID-19, this was the anticipated result.

In a statement, the NCAA also made note that there will be adjustments to financial aid rules that will allow teams to carry more members on scholarship — which will account for incoming recruits and athletes with one year of remaining eligibility who elect to stay, too.

For those that would have exhausted eligibility during the 2019-20 season, Monday’s vote also provided universities with the flexibility to give athletes the opportunity to return for 2020-21 — without requiring that aid come in at the same level as what for awarded for the 2019-20 year.

From the NCAA:

Division I rules limit student-athletes to four seasons of competition in a five-year period. The Council’s decision allows schools to self-apply waivers to restore one of those seasons of competition for student-athletes who had competed while eligible in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 spring season

The Council also will allow schools to self-apply a one-year extension of eligibility for spring-sport student-athletes, effectively extending each student’s five-year “clock” by a year. This decision was especially important for student-athletes who had reached the end of their five-year clock in 2020 and saw their seasons end abruptly.