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NCAA to Extend Eligibility For Spring Athletes

Jack Blomgren
Game three of the 2019 College World Series | Peter Aiken/Getty Images

College athletes participating in spring sports whose seasons were abruptly stopped now have a lifeline.

The NCAA agreed to extend the eligibility of all student-athletes in its spring sports -- including, but not limited to, baseball, softball, and lacrosse -- an extra year. This means, among other things, that seniors in what would have been their final year of eligibility no longer face the prospect of having their swan songs shortened by events beyond their control.

The decision came one day after the NCAA canceled all championships in winter and spring sports in response to the spread of the coronavirus. Those cancellations included the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, Frozen Four hockey tournament, and the College World Series.

Of course, there will still be a myriad of logistical issues for schools and coaches in spring sports to clear up once play resumes, including whether to increase roster sizes to make room for the holdovers. A lot of things still have to play out, but the NCAA clearly released this statement to show some early direction for what could be a massive problem.

The next logical question is whether to extend the same leniency to winter sports, such as basketball, whose seasons were also upended by the coronavirus. Several coaches, including Michigan State's Tom Izzo, stated that they were open to granting their seniors an extra year of eligibility. However, since those athletes actually completed most of their seasons, the issue is somewhat murky.