The NCAA is planning to grant an extra year of eligibility to all Division 1 collegiate athletes involved in spring sports. This decision comes after the NCAA suspended all athletic contests due to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes conference play, league tournaments, and national championships. On social media platforms, college seniors started to advocate for an extra year of eligibility so they get one last chance at a trophy. This conversation sparked after a Harvard University Track and Field runner, Abbe Gold, wrote an inspiring message on Instagram after her season was canceled. She stated “Despite hard work from Harvard athletics and my coaches, an archaic policy (which we would not be violated if we went to NCAAs to compete as none of us are returning to campus) won out. There are
absolutely zero rationales in this decision. Harvard is the only university to withdraw from the competition. This would have been my first national championship. Shame on you @harvard. Here’s to hoping for a fifth year.” This post received over 30,000 likes and started the hashtag #redshirtcoronayear.
The NCAA then later released their official statement: “Council leadership agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes who participated in spring sports.” The NCAA’s Council Coordination Committee is still finalizing eligibility details, including whether this plan should be extended to winter athletes. The current plan wouldn’t apply to Abbe Gold or any athlete involved in March Madness. The sports that would get eligibility would be lacrosse, softball, baseball, golf, tennis, outdoor track and field, beach volleyball, women’s rowing, and women’s water polo.
The NCAA also reported a recruiting dead period that bans in-person recruiting until April Fifteenth. This includes unofficial visits, official visits, and interviews with coaches. Although current spring athletes are granted another year, they would have to pay an extra year of tuition to be involved with the school’s athletics. Their current athletic scholarships would still apply. The NCAA put a smile on spring athletes’ faces, and hopefully, they can bring that same joy to elite winter athletes too.
By Brooke Marotti’21, Co-Junior Executive Editor in Chief