NCAA Grants 1 More Season Of Eligibility

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division I Council voted to allow baseball players an additional season of competition and an extension of their period of eligibility.

Members 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 who decide to stay.

In a nod to the financial uncertainty faced by higher education, the Council vote also provided schools with the flexibility to give students the opportunity to return for 2020-21 without requiring that athletics aid be provided at the same level awarded for 2019-20.

This flexibility applies only to student-athletes who would have exhausted eligibility in 2019-20.

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 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.

The Council also increased the roster limit in baseball for student-athletes impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the only spring sport with such a limit.

As far as junior college transfers from NJCAA schools who arrive at NCAA Division I schools next fall, they will not see a year of eligibility burned. If they were a sophomore at their junior college during the past spring, then they will remain a sophomore next fall at the Division I school as long as the school submits a waiver request to the NJCAA.

Earlier the NJCAA stated that no spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled at a member college in 2020 would be charged a year of participation.

The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) is granting a year of eligibility to all Spring student/athletes. As for sophomores transferring to NCAA Div. 1 programs this fall, they will be transferring as juniors.

But the process is mirroring the NJCAA. A waiver will be submitted, and CCCAA will grant the year, according to Rudy Arguelles, head baseball coach at Riverside City College.

“It has not been clarified as to which party submits the waiver as of yet,” said Arguelles.

“Some are saying it’s the Div. 1 schools option to submit and some are saying it’s the junior college’s responsibility. Either way, the sophomores transferring to D1 programs will be sophomores again.”

For a complete look at the ramifications of the 2020 college baseball season being cancelled and what the future will hold for baseball players and programs, purchase the April 3, 2020 edition or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.