The NCAA announced earlier this week that all winter and spring sports championships have been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. For Division I student-athletes in spring sports — which includes baseball, softball, tennis, and golf — some good news came in today as the NCAA declared those players denied the chance to participate in their seasons will get “relief.” This likely means an additional year of eligibility.
Division I Council Coordination Committee agrees eligibility relief is appropriate for spring sports: pic.twitter.com/u7hwYOyTDV— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) March 13, 2020
The committee above is wholly known as the the Division I Communications and Coordination Committee, which “helps coordinate consideration of issues and legislative concepts between the various Division I governance bodies.” Because the NCAA lacks enough committees and infrastructure, it’s a good thing they have a committee to inform all the committees of what the other committees are doing.
Now the question becomes do they grant relief in the winter sports as well, which include men’s and women’s basketball, ice hockey and more. It’s a decision that will come with lots of outside pressure, exacerbated by Southeastern Conference showing surprise that the NCAA cancelled the spring sports championships without telling anyone.
And there are issues for the “equivalency” sports too, which are the sports where players rarely have a full cost-of-attendance college scholarship. For example in baseball, a coach divides 11.7 scholarships across the team however he sees fit and to fill his recruiting needs. This could become a real issue with roster management in 2021 unless some rules are put in place. And for smaller schools on very tight budgets already, who pays for it?
UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma has some pretty good ideas about that, saying “I would be in favor of all those that are seniors, that have not had a chance to compete… they should all be given another opportunity to play. And then regardless of what that does to your scholarship account. And the NCAA should foot the bill for that.”