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NCAA expected to add extra year of eligibility for spring sport athletes

As for winter sports? Don’t know yet.

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

So, what do we do now? Normally we’d be looking back at a WSU loss to Arizona State or looking forward to their next matchup as they try to make a miraculous run. Alas, more important things are happening and we’re left to ponder and look back. Emma did that yesterday, highlighting the wonderful year the Cougar women had in athletics.

But as the sports world tries to figure out its next steps, the NCAA has some decisions to make.

Since spring sports have been completely wiped out, the NCAA Division I Council Committee has recommended that seniors all players in those sports receive eligibility relief, specifically the option to play their senior year next spring.

For WSU, those participating in baseball, track and field, golf, rowing and tennis would be eligible to return next season without exhausting a year of eligibility. There is plenty of time to see how this all unfolds.

Is this a good idea? For spring sports, yes indeed. How’d you like it if one day you were getting ready to host Cal for a three-game baseball series and then get a call that your season—and possibly your college career—is over? Just like that. No build up, no farewell. Probably just a phone call, a text message, a quick team meeting. No pictures with mom and dad at the last game, match or meet. No framed photos.

Not all of the seniors will choose to return. Many may already have their degree or will soon obtain theirs (online, of course). A lot of them will opt to enter the workforce or pursue a professional career in their respective sport. And good for them. But the option to return should be granted.

It should be noted that this is only for spring sports, not winter sports like basketball. The basketball season was over for many teams and almost over for many others. Giving seniors in men’s and women’s basketball an extra year seems like a logistical nightmare. Who would pay for those scholarships? How big would the rosters be, and how would that affect other players? So many questions, and you can find some in this piece by Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. Dodd’s article was published before the Council Committee’s recommendations were made public.

What, if anything, should be done for seniors in winter sports who saw their seasons abruptly end right before tournament time? Initially, I’m not sure anything can be done. As Dodd said in his piece, sometimes life isn’t fair. Unfortunately, this might be one of those times.

It’s a terrible way to end things. There’s no blueprint for any of this. Heck, the Montana state high school basketball tournament was finally canceled last night—at halftime of a championship game no less! Teams on both the boys and girls sides were named co-champs, and it didn’t sit well:


I feel terrible for all these athletes, and I feel even worse believing that hardly any kind of consolation can be handed out.

Lastly, ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt is doing things right:


Yea or nay: Giving an extra year of eligibility to seniors in spring sports

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This is an outrage

Coming from behind to beat the no. 1 team in the nation in their own stadium loses to the 2012 Apple Cup? I like winning the Apple Cup as much as the next person and that sure was a fun ending in overtime, but come on, the 1988 win vs. UCLA should have won going away.


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