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NCAA Grants Waiver For All Spring Sport Athletes To Return

The NCAA Division I Council has approved a blanket waiver to give all spring sport athletes, which includes tennis players, whose season was abruptly canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic an additional season of competition and an extension of their period of eligibility.

The NCAA made the announcement on Monday after a lengthy meeting with committee members consisting of athletic directors, athletic administrators, faculty athletic representatives and student-athletes.

“I really felt like this was coming down the pike,” Georgia women’s head coach Jeff Wallace said. “I mean with these players only playing maybe a third of the season, it was just so unfortunate. In that light, I think giving everyone a year back for those who want to apply for it was the right thing to do.”

Members also adjusted financial aid rules to allow teams to carry more members on scholarship to account for incoming recruits and student-athletes returning who had been in their last year of eligibility.

Schools will have the choice of whether to offer less aid than what they provided each athlete this year. The flexibility applies only to student-athletes who would have exhausted eligibility in 2019-20.

Many schools are facing a big financial shortfall because of the cancellation of the money-generating NCAA basketball tournament. The NCAA announced last Thursday it will distribute only $225 million to its Division I member schools in June, nearly two-thirds less than the $600 million scheduled to be handed out in installments from April to June. The budget concerns could become even more dire if the upcoming college football season is impacted.

Schools also will have the ability to use the NCAA's Student Assistance Fund to pay for scholarships for students who take advantage of the additional eligibility flexibility in 2020-21.

The NCAA’s Division II and III administrative committees announced last week they were granting spring sport athletes an extra year of eligibility.


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About Rhiannon Potkey

Rhiannon Potkey is a veteran sportswriter with more than two decades of experience in journalism. Potkey has covered many sports at many levels and has a passion for finding great stories. Potkey has covered the U.S. Open, junior sectional and national events, college conference championships and Davis Cup matches. Potkey is currently Content Strategist for Tennis Recruiting. You can reach Rhiannon by email at [email protected].
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Colette Lewis has covered topflight junior events as a freelance journalist for over a decade. Read her weekly column, follow her on Twitter, and and find more of her daily commentary at ZooTennis.

Page updated on Wednesday, May 27, 2020
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