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NCAA Approves Extra Year Of Eligibility For Spring Sports Seniors

(CBS Local)- The NCAA Division I Council met Monday to determine whether to grant a waiver for an extra year of eligibility for spring sports seniors who had their seasons canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Monday night, the Council announced that they had decided to grant a blanket waiver to those athletes to allow them to return to school.

The Council released an explanation of the waiver on the NCAA's website. In the release, the NCAA says that schools will be allowed to make the decision of whether or not to provide financial aid for athletes on a case by case basis.

"Members also adjusted financial aid rules to allow teams to carry more members on scholarship to account for incoming recruits and student-athletes who had been in their last year of eligibility who decide to stay. In a nod to the financial uncertainty faced by higher education, the Council vote also provided schools with the flexibility to give students the opportunity to return for 2020-21 without requiring that athletics aid be provided at the same level awarded for 2019-20. This flexibility applies only to student-athletes who would have exhausted eligibility in 2019-20."

University of Pennsylvania athletics director M. Grace Calhoun reinforced the fact that the decision of how to handle each athlete's case with regards to finances will be made at the campus level.

"The Council's decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level," said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Penn in the release. "The Board of Governors encouraged conferences and schools to take action in the best interest of student-athletes and their communities, and now schools have the opportunity to do that."

The ruling on Monday came after weeks of discussions about how to handle eligibility for the seniors who had their careers cut short by the cancellation of the winter and spring sports seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ruling means that all seniors may now decide to return to campus for the spring 2021 season and compete with their teams. However, it is up to each individual as to whether or not they want to pursue the extra year and each school to determine how much to offer in financial aid.

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