By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
The NCAA’s Division I Council made a major announcement that could extend the eligibility of several Bahamian student-athletes that compete in the organisation’s winter sports.
Winter sports include basketball, gymnastics, swimming and diving, indoor track and field, ice hockey, and wrestling.
The council voted that student athletes who compete during 2020-21 in Division I will receive both an additional season of competition and an additional year in which to complete it. It now gives athletes an opportunity for an additional season to play “five years in a six year span”, rather than the traditional “four years in a five year span” scenario.
“The pandemic will continue to impact winter sport seasons in ways we can’t predict. Council members opted to provide for winter sport student-athletes the same flexibility given spring and fall sports previously,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “The actions today ensure the continuation of local decision-making in the best interest of each institution and its student-athletes.”
In March, the Division I Council previously allowed programmes to extend an additional season of competition and eligibility to participants in spring sports.
Spring sports affected in the decision include baseball, softball, tennis, golf, track and field (outdoor) lacrosse, rowing, men’s volleyball, beach volleyball and women’s water polo.
It will also allow for roster expansion through increased scholarship limits for baseball, the only spring sport with such a limit.
The decision to play fall sports have varied across conferences, however, irrespective of the conference decision, the year will not count toward an athlete’s eligibility for their NCAA career.