NCAA grants an extra year of eligibility for winter sport student-athletes

The rule-makers also provided additional flexibility with membership requirements and championships selection

Welcome to The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to you by The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited, and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives, and projections about the game we love.

Subscribe to make sure this vital work, creating a pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph the great game, continues, and grows. Subscriptions include some exclusive content, but the reason for subscriptions is a simple one: making sure our writers and editors creating 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage get paid to do it.


Photo via Notre Dame women’s basketball team Twitter

NCAA Division I winter sport student-athletes who compete during the 2020-21 season will receive both an additional season of competition and an additional year in which to complete it, the Division I Council announced Wednesday. The decision is part of one-time rule changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Council previously voted to allow the same flexibility for all spring sport athletes and fall sport athletes, no matter what portion of their season was impacted by the virus.

“The pandemic will continue to impact winter sports 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 the University of Pennsylvania, in the release. “The actions today ensure the continuation of local decision-making in the best interest of each institution and its student-athletes.”

The Council also waived the requirement that Division I schools had to sponsor the minimum required number of sports for membership purposes, provided the school disclosed that it intended to sponsor the requisite number of sports but cannot due to COVID-19 challenges.

Additionally, NCAA rule-makers agreed to grant a blanket waiver for 2020-21 to allow conferences to earn an automatic bid in fall championships if a minimum of three member schools participated in conference competition in that sport.