According to reports on Twitter, the NCAA has made a decision regarding granting athletes an extra year of eligibility. Those who played in a winter sport, whose seasons mostly completed but had all championships cancelled, will not be granted an extra year of NCAA eligibility. Spring sport athletes, however, will be granted another year of eligibility and will not count toward financial aid limits.
The NCAA has decided not to grant athletes from winter sports (including basketball) an extra year of eligibility due to coronavirus pandemic. Spring sport athletes were granted extra year.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 30, 2020
NCAA will allow all spring semester student-athletes additional year of eligibility, sources told @Stadium. 1st reported by The Athletic. FInancial aid for seniors that return are exempt from financial aid limits & winter semester athletes were denied an extra year, source said— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) March 30, 2020
First off, it was obvious that the spring sports were going to get a year of eligibility back, given that they lost basically an entire season. The logistics of that aren’t going to be very clean and easy to work out, though having returning seniors exempt from financial aid limits does start to answer some outstanding questions. But will that apply to 5th year seniors in future years who aren’t “returning seniors” right now but would be in the future? And most importantly, will this result in incoming freshmen losing scholarship offers at the last minute from schools who aren’t willing to pay the extra money, particularly if they are a school (like eh hem BC) who may lose a ton of money if college football is not played this year?
The debate is going to rage for the decision on not granting winter sport athletes another year of eligibility, though. There’s an argument to both sides of this. On the one hand, a strong majority of athletes in the spring sports already fully completed their seasons. There’s obviously no reason to give those athletes another year. But there are also athletes who lost entire postseasons to the cancellations. They’re just out of luck, basically.
From a hockey perspective — I am a hockey writer, after all — the winter sports decision is probably a net positive for BC from a competition standpoint. On the men’s side, BC’s best players are not staying all four years anyway, and even if they do, they would certainly not be likely to stay for a fifth with so many pro hockey options available after graduation. Other schools who build their success on keeping as many players for as many years as possible will be hurt by this, while BC will not be affected as strongly.
On the women’s side, the players don’t leave to go pro. But 7 of the top 8 scorers on the BC Women’s Hockey team are freshmen and sophomores. Relatively speaking, other teams will lose more points to graduation the next two years than BC will. So other schools would have benefited more than the Eagles would have if given an extra year of eligibility, lengthening BC’s rebuild.
More details are sure to come out on the NCAA’s decisions over the coming days and weeks, so hopefully that will answer any lingering questions on how the spring sport scholarship situation will work. Of course, none of this will matter if we are all dead by this winter anyway, so stay safe and stay home, Eagles.