Big 12 Sports Articles

Should the NCAA Grant an Extra Year to Seniors?

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Albany Regional-UCLA vs Connecticut

So, could seniors in all NCAA spring sports, and perhaps winter sports, get the opportunity for a do-over?

That’s what the NCAA is reportedly discussing. 

The idea of giving seniors an additional year of eligibility due to the cancellations of NCAA events, including the NCAA Tournament, gained momentum on Friday when The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach, among other, tweeted out that the governing body for college athletics is looking at the issue. 

 
 

Auerbach later threaded that tweet to say that the NCAA’s Division I Council Coordination Committee, would be working on the issue and would have a response in a “timely manner.”

ESPN.com added some more flesh to the story later in the day, saying that the council committee had made the recommendation that all athletes in spring sports be given eligibility relief. 

Spring sports, as defined by the story, include baseball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball and men’s volleyball.

Both Auerbach and ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura noted that the committee is also looking at whether additional eligibility might be extended to athletes in winter sports, of which men’s and women’s basketball are included. 

So what would this mean? There are so many points that still need to be fleshed out. The NCAA committee’s recommendation is exactly that — a recommendation. That doesn’t mean that the full NCAA body will adopt the recommendation. But if they do, it will likely take weeks to figure out exactly what that means from many angles, including scholarships, tuition and roster space.

Given that the NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments were canceled on Thursday, that’s on the top of mind of many sports fans. On Thursday, Stadium.com’s Jeff Goodman reported that one Big 12 men’s basketball coach — Oklahoma State’s Mike Boynton Jr. — was on board with giving seniors in college basketball the option of one more year of eligibility, if they wanted it. 

 
 

ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla, who was in Kansas City to broadcast the Big 12 Tournament, agreed and made several good arguments for allowing seniors the opportunity to come back.

There’s no way to project how restoring eligibility to current seniors, even on an optional basis, would impact NCAA rosters in winter and spring sports, should the NCAA adopt the policy full bore. But, given the extreme circumstances of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and the wave of cancellations in collegiate sports, it bears monitoring. It could have significant ramifications on Big 12 basketball and beyond. 

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