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UPDATE (NCAA Coronavirus): Reports Indicate That Winter Sports Won’t Get A Blanket Extra Year; Still On The Table For Division I Spring Sports

Editor’s Note: Updates on the NCAA coronavirus spring athletics situation will be updated as they become available. Stay tuned for information as it relates to college lacrosse. Follow all of our coronavirus coverage by clicking here.

An Evolving NCAA Coronavirus Situation

Update: NCAA Division I Winter Sports Unlikely To Get Extra Year, Still On The Table For Spring Sports (March 18 at 3:34 p.m. ET)

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports is reporting that the NCAA is unlikely to grant an extra year to winter sports athletes, but is still apparently being considered for its spring sports athletes. The move would likely be a blanket waiver for Division I athletes for spring sports, including NCAA lacrosse, as it has yet to be made official that would be handed down directly from the NCAA (read about the situation from the updates below). NCAA Division I college lacrosse could still have that blanket extra year granted.

Update: NCAA Division I Official Update (March 18 at 1:58 p.m. ET)

The NCAA published a news release summarizing the actions taken thus far to address eligibility waiver concerns for Division I athletes. The statement lists that all three divisions were directed by the NCAA Board of Governors to enact legislative modifications and waivers to provide relief to student-athletes and schools impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The Division I Council Coordination Committee agreed that NCAA member schools should make the best decisions for the health and safety of their coaches, staff, student-athletes, recruits and communities. Council leadership also agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes who participated in spring sports. Details of eligibility relief will be finalized later with input from the Division I membership.

While it is clear that some action will be taken to address NCAA Division I eligibility concerns, it is unclear how that will look at this point. It could potentially vary from conference to conference or even by each school to school based on the direction given thus far by the NCAA Board of Governors. The likely complications are that the financial and logistical disparities between many NCAA Division I schools, and the different sports within those schools and conferences.

Due to financial considerations for the schools, conferences and the entire Division I of the NCAA, those decisions would be further complicated by the factors of how rosters would look with potential roster implications for returning seniors and incoming freshmen, in addition to the funds needed to address those students and the school’s athletic department’s needs. Most spring sports do not actually generate near the amount of revenue that winter sports (mainly NCAA Basketball) or fall sports (NCAA Football) do. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is by far the largest money-making machine, accounting for over 80 percent of the NCAA’s annual revenue.

You can read the full release by clicking here.

Update: NCAA Division II Administrative Committee Grants Additional Season Of Eligibility, Implements Recruiting Dead Period In All Sports Until April 15 (March 14 at 6:34 p.m. ET)

The biggest part of the announcement was that the NCAA Division II Administrative Committee has now officially that this year’s Division II spring athletes would be granted an additional season of eligibility and waved sponsorship requirements for schools canceling spring seasons.

The committee also implemented a new recruiting dead period in all sports at least until April 15. Flexibility is being allowed for schools to assist student-athletes with travel in addition to the already available housing and meal conditions.

Division I is the only division in the NCAA that has yet to officially announce that it would grant an additional season of eligibility, although based on the previous official releases and reports circulating today (found by scrolling down) it would seem highly likely it would happen.

Update: NCAA Division III Administrative Committee Waives All Sports Sponsorship Requirements For The Spring Season, Grants Additional Season/Semester Of Its Athletes Competing In Spring Sports (March 14 at 3:30 P.M. ET)

Flexibility has been provided by the NCAA Division III Committee for schools to assist students with travel, lodging and meals as a result of campus displacement. The committee waived all sports sponsorship requirements for the spring season and granted an additional season or semester of eligibility. This is the first division-wide announcement to accept an official extra season of eligibility throughout the NCAA. While previous updates have suggested that the NCAA would likely implement such a policy across all divisions, it has still yet to be confirmed across NCAA Division I and Division II spring sports.

Update: NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee Agrees Relief Is Appropriate For Spring Sports (March 14 at 2:30 P.M. ET)

Agreement Of Relief Being Appropriate

The Division I Council Coordination Committee issued a statement agreeing that eligibility relief is appropriate for spring sport athletes. Again, the language doesn’t necessarily imply that the NCAA has officially granted a blanket waiver for this year’s spring athletes for an additional year of eligibility, but rather that it agrees with the idea that financial relief is an acceptable solution for its spring athletes affected by the NCAA coronavirus situation. There is room to read into this, but the official word so far is that the NCAA has not officially approved an extra season of eligibility.

NCAA Bans In-Person Recruiting

In-person recruiting has been banned through at least April 15 of this year. Extensions to the policy will likely be made based on the evolving situation surrounding the coronavirus and the response to it from government and other officials.

UPDATE: NCAA Board Of Governors Issues Guidance To Its Members (March 14 at 2:13 P.M. ET)

It’s unclear what the extent of this statement means, but at least signifies that the NCAA is mindful of all its athletes across all divisions. Based on this statement alone it sounds as though the NCAA is not actually officially granting an extra season but is leaving those considerations up to the determination of the individual divisions, conferences and schools.

Original Report (March 14 at 12:58 P.M. ET)

Jeff Goodman, a basketball analyst, has reported that the NCAA is expected to grant relief for the use of a season of competition for its spring sports, including college lacrosse. The NCAA coronavirus situation — and a larger issue across all of sport — should help alleviate concerns for all its athletes, but specifically seniors who would have likely lost their last season of eligibility had the NCAA not made concessions.

There had speculation over the last few days since the flood of cancellations of conferences and teams competing in the spring, like Amherst, the Ivy League, the Patriot League — in addition to pro sports leagues like the NLL — on whether there would be additional eligibility granted to its spring athletes given the extreme nature of the situation with the threat of the spread of the coronavirus. Specific NCAA lacrosse teams had also individually canceled their seasons in a flood of announcements yesterday.

The considerations around specific rules to the Ivy League were also speculated about given that restrictions and realities are different than other the league’s conferences and schools.

While the news is certainly welcome, there are much larger hills to climb in the coming weeks and months ahead as the coronavirus has shaken not only the entire sports industry but many other businesses across the country and across the world.

All of this assumes reports by Goodman are accurate, which can only be hoped given the devastation across all of sport yesterday.

More information on the NCAA coronavirus and college lacrosse situation will be updated when it becomes available.

NCAA To Grant Relief For The Use Of A Season Of Competition For Its Spring Sports