NCAA extends eligibility for student athletes impacted by COVID-19

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(WVLT) -- The NCAA Division I Council voted to allow schools to provide spring-sport student athletes an additional season of competition and an extension of their period of eligibility.

The council also adjusted financial aid rules to allow teams to carry more members on scholarship to account for incoming recruits and student athletes who had been in their last year of eligibility.

Schools also will have the ability to use the NCAA’s Student Assistance Fund to pay for scholarships for students who take advantage of the additional eligibility flexibility in 2020-21.

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’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.”

The NCAA announced winter sports were not included in the decision. Council members said they declined to extend eligibility for student-athletes in sports where all or much of their regular seasons were completed.

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