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NCAA Grants Addition Year of Eligibility to Spring Sport Athletes

Many student-athletes were devastated to hear the NCAA’s decision to cancel all Winter and Spring Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). While it’s difficult for college athletes to accept that the season was cut short, the NCAA has made some changes for spring sport athletes to off-set these challenges. The NCAA Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3 Committees announced eligibility relief will be granted to student-athletes missing out on the 2020 spring sports season. Over the next few weeks, these committees will work to finalize the details of eligibility relief, as well as address issues with the NCAA recruiting rules and calendar.

The first example of this is NCAA’s new recruiting rules for all D1 and D2 programs that prohibits in-person recruiting through April 15. They have also encouraged all colleges to stop all official and unofficial visits.

As the we wait for additional announcements from the NCAA, here’s a look at what eligibility relief means for 2020 seniors and 2021 recruits.

What does this mean for 2020 recruits?

Are you an unrecruited 2020 student-athletes still looking for a roster spot? 2020-21 roster spots are already limited, and the NCAA’s eligibility relief plan may further limit unsigned seniors’ recruiting opportunities if coaches decide to hold roster spots for current athletes who plan to return for a fifth year.

To increase your opportunities to compete in college, it’s important to remain open-minded about different division levels and step up their recruiting efforts online. Learn more about how NCSA can help unsigned seniors here.

If you’ve already committed to a program, eligibility relief may significantly impact your rookie year should seniors on the current roster choose to play for a fifth year. At this point, it is unclear how the NCAA will address the topic of scholarship money, roster spots and many of the other potential challenges of a roster with 5 years of student-athletes.

What does this mean for 2021 recruits?

It’s still unclear how NCAA eligibility relief will impact 2021 recruits. The new recruiting dead period now running through April 15 will change the recruiting process, even if just briefly. How can you stay on top of your recruiting during this time?

• Pick up the phone: Recruiting conversation can continue over the phone. Create a game plan for your call and come prepared with questions before reaching out to coaches.

• Reach out via email: Start the recruiting conversation by sending an introductory email. Continue a dialogue with coaches by checking your email regularly to avoid missing a reply.

• Create a highlight video: Right now, the best option coaches have to evaluate talent is by watching highlight video on a student-athlete’s recruiting profile.

What about winter sport college athletes’ eligibility?

As the NCAA Division I Council Committee continues to discuss details around eligibility relief for spring sport athletes, Committee Chair Dr. Grace Calhoun shared in an email to administrators that they will “also discuss issues related to seasons of competition for winter sport student-athletes who were unable to participate in conference and NCAA championships.”

To learn how college coaches’ recruiting needs have changed as a result of the coronavirus, visit NCSA’s blog.

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