NCAA decides to grant extra year of eligibility to all fall sport athletes, but won’t pay for it

NCAA grants fall sport athletes an extra year of eligibility to compete
Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash.
NCAA grants fall sport athletes an extra year of eligibility to compete

Many fall sports were canceled or postponed by their respective conferences, which has left uncertainty over how the NCAA will handle the potential lost season for those college athletes.

On Friday, the NCAA Division I Board of Governors adopted a recommendation that will  an additional year of eligibility to fall athletes, even if they are able to compete in the 2020-2021 academic year.

It’s not just that, the NCAA is also providing an extra year to finish that season. As the normal eligibility window stands, college athletes get five years to complete four years of eligibility. In the wording of their press release Friday, “All fall sport student-athletes will receive both an additional year of eligibility and an additional year in which to complete it.”

This will likely impact which local talented seniors at Washington State, Eastern Washington and University of Idaho decide to enter the 2021 NFL draft, or come back for another season.

That could further impact teams like the Seattle Seahawks and what level of talent is in the upcoming draft if more seniors across the country decide to return to college.

Granting an additional year across the board will not count against the team scholarships limits in 2021-2022, but it will impact schools struggling financially, as they would have to provide the money for those additional scholarships.

That could end up leaving seniors in a pinch, because the NCAA did not mandate that schools fund the scholarships of seniors for an additional year. It opens the doors for those athletes, but guarantees nothing. If a coach would prefer to bring in more young talent and allocate the school’s money toward a scholarship for a high school senior the following year instead of that senior, the senior would have to find a way to provide for themselves.