In very quick fashion, the NCAA responded to a groundswell of support for thousands of student-athletes affected by its decision Thursday to cancel its spring sports championships and effectively end the seasons — and in some cases, careers — for those players.
The NCAA tweeted Friday, in part, that “eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes that participated in spring sports.”
Division I Council Coordination Committee agrees eligibility relief is appropriate for spring sports: pic.twitter.com/u7hwYOyTDV
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) March 13, 2020
UPDATE: Athletic director David Matlin was asked about the subject in a group media interview at noon Friday.
Hawaii AD David Matlin on the possibility of NCAA student-athlete eligibility extensions because of #coronavirus season cancellations.
“We would need to take a look at that. It’s something that’s definitely a good conversation to have.”
He also noted unintended consequences. pic.twitter.com/fSqyZSSzy6
— Hawaii Warrior World (@hawaiiwworld) March 13, 2020
Basketball and swimming and diving count as winter sports, so athletes in those sports would not be eligible.
UH’s spring sports are baseball, beach volleyball, golf, men’s volleyball, softball, tennis, outdoor track and water polo. Sailing is not an NCAA sport. It would apparently apply to all D-I athletes, and not just seniors.
Three UH sports had realistic hopes for a national championship in 2020. The men’s volleyball team was ranked No. 2 nationally, water polo was No. 3 and beach volleyball was No. 4.
However, it’s not just as easy as automatically bringing back a full team. Players who graduate may wish to move on to the next chapter in their lives. There are scholarship considerations — what happens when an incoming recruit who was promised a scholarship arrives, but a scholarship player expected to leave remains? Who pays for it? As the NCAA notes, “additional issues with NCAA rules must be addressed.”
UPDATE: The NCAA went ahead and is offering Division III spring student-athletes another semester or season of eligibility.
Division III Administrative Committee decisions: pic.twitter.com/wBB7IkW1C1
— NCAA Division III (@NCAADIII) March 13, 2020