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Spring Athletes Possibly To Retain Eligibility, NCAA Looking Into Same For Winter Athletes

The NCAA starts looking ahead

SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The NCAA has started to look ahead to how this year’s cancellations will affect next season. Per Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, it looks like the spring athletes who have had the bulk of their seasons cancelled may be able to retain their year of eligibility going forward, with the same being discussed for winter athletes as well, many (but not all) of whom were able to complete a full season.

There are a whole mess of implications for this beyond just deciding whether or not players will be allowed to get an extra year. The biggest and most pressing is the fact that having (potentially) several seniors return on scholarship with freshmen on the way will pose issues with scholarship limits, roster limits, and extra players sitting in the stands (let alone the bench) — and it would last for the next four years as this year’s freshmen work their way through the pipeline.

There’s also the likely trickle down effect of teams just offering fewer scholarships to high school players for a while to compensate. So, while the NCAA seems to be planning on letting these players keep a year of eligibility, there are plenty of details to be worked out as to how exactly that will work.

The situation with the winter sports athletes is even more complicated. Many sports (women’s sports in particular, whose seasons tend to run a week or two earlier than their male counterparts) have many teams whose seasons were already fully completed. Boston College Men’s Hockey and Boston College Women’s Basketball were the two on the Heights whose postseasons were not yet over. Men’s Basketball, on the other hand, ended just before the ACC tournament was cancelled and the Women’s Hockey’s season finished up in the conference quarterfinals two weeks ago. Beyond the same scholarship and roster issues that the spring sports will have, there’s an entire question of what to do with this year’s nearly- and sometimes fully-completed seasons.

The NCAA claims to be working on this in a timely manner, so it will be interesting to follow as the details are ironed out. But it does appear that the NCAA knows that this is a big issue that needs to be worked on.