NCAA grants eligibility relief to winter sport athletes

Gold and Blue Nation

Wins requirement for bowl eligibility has also been waived

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The NCAA Division I Council has granted eligibility relief to winter sport athletes as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a statement from the DI Council, any student-athlete who competes in a winter sport this year will receive both “an additional season of competition and an additional year in which to complete it.” 

This decision aligns with eligibility relief granted to fall sport athletes around the time athletics resumed in the Big 12 Conference. Spring sport athletes were also granted eligibility extensions after the pandemic brought competition to a halt in March. 

“The pandemic will continue to impact winter sport seasons in ways we can’t predict. Council members opted to provide for winter sport student-athletes the same flexibility given spring and fall sports previously,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania, in a  statement. “The actions today ensure the continuation of local decision-making in the best interest of each institution and its student-athletes.”

The council also made adjustments to baseline requirements to compete in upcoming championships. Football bowl eligibility requirements will be waived for the 2020-21 season, meaning there is no minimum threshold of wins or games played that a team must meet to become bowl eligible. 

In addition, the council ruled that teams in winter sports can compete in as few as half of the required minimum games and still be considered for championship selection, and waived a similar wins requirement to be eligible for at-large bids. 

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