An NCAA council will discuss and vote March 30 for eligibility relief for collegiate athletes who had their seasons cut short because of the cancellations amid the spreading coronavirus, the NCAA announced Friday afternoon.
The NCAA Division I Coordination Committee has already agreed that relief should be given to spring sports, such as baseball and softball, and the committee now supports giving schools a framework where the individual schools can "make their own decisions in the best interest of their campus, conference and student-athletes," a news release said.
“The coordination committee recognizes that this local decision-making is made more challenging by the implications of COVID-19,” Division I Council chair Grace Calhoun said in the statement. “However, providing a broader regulatory relief framework will allow campuses and conferences to make decisions they believe are in their collective best interest.”
Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey and LSU athletic director Scott Woodward both spoke in support that players within spring sports should regain a year of eligibility, since their seasons were cut short.
Previously, the NCAA sent its members schools a letter saying such an action would be "appropriate" for spring sports and that the details would be finalized at a later date.
There was no mention of winter sports in the NCAA's newest statement, and it remains unclear whether players in sports such as men's and women's basketball, whose postseasons were cut short, will also regain a year of eligibility.
"We're working to gain eligibility back to our students participating in spring sports, and then, for the winter sports that didn't complete their championships," Woodward said Monday. "We're going to discuss that, and that's going to be an on-going discussion with the SEC and the NCAA.
With the NCAA on pace to create a broad framework for spring athletes to regain eligibility, it seems schools will be navigating through the compliance hoops that will be forthcoming.
Sankey admitted there will be several questions: What will schools do about scholarship limits? What happens to recruits who signed letters of intent to schools that can no longer accommodate them?
"There are a number of sensitivities that merit the kind of discussion that I know is occurring right now," Sankey said Wednesday. "Again, my encouragement, is that be done in a relatively efficient manner."
The NCAA's coordination committee also announced it was issuing waivers that allows schools to reimburse collegiate athletes for any expenses related to canceled foreign trips. Schools are also allowed to reimburse high school athletes for expenses related to canceled official and unofficial visits.
LSU had to reschedule its Junior Day recruiting event from March 14 for a later date, due to the spreading coronavirus, and the NCAA suspended all in-person recruiting activity through at least April 15.