Apr 08, 2020 2:45 AM

How will an extra season for spring college athletes be handled?

Posted Apr 08, 2020 2:45 AM

By: Dave Collins, Eagle Radio Chadron Sports Director

The NCAA is allowing spring sports student-athletes to have another year of eligibility since their seasons were cancelled by the COVID-19 outbreak.

So, how will it work?

I asked Chadron State College Associate Athletic Director Chris Green about the process and to give us a scenario involving this unprecedented situation.

Green responded with "Basically from my understanding (there's) no application to be filled out. It is just a self-applied (institution) waiver. So essentially for us, all softball and women's golf student-athletes just won’t have a season added. Everyone will stay at the year they are currently on."

So, a senior stays a senior, and a sophomore stays a sophomore, and so forth in athletic standing.

What gets interesting is when student-athletes approach their semester limit for competition.  Green says in Division II athletes are allowed 10 semesters to complete four seasons.

So for players with injuries or other issues factored in over their career there may be a few more hurdles to clear, and coaches/administrators will have to keep a close eye on timing to ensure athletes do in fact get their extra sports season.

For example, look at this scenario for a hypothetical incoming freshman that would have started school at CSC a few years back:

-          2016-17: 2 semesters, 1st season used

-          2017-18: 2 semesters used (4 total, 2nd season used

-          2018-19: 2 semesters used (6 total, 3rd season used, however player was injured and a Medical Hardship Waiver was approved (Medical Redshirt) so the 3rd season is given back.

-          2019-20: 2 semesters used (8 total, medical redshirt/3rd season used.  Plus, the COVID-19 ruling then gives the 3rd season back, again.  The athlete still has 2 seasons remaining but only 2 semesters.

-          2020-21: 2 semesters used (10 total, 3rd season used (COVID-19 replacement season)

-          2021-22: 2 semesters used (12 total, 4th season used (eligibility exhausted)

Under this scenario according to Green the student-athlete/CSC would have to apply for an extension waiver to get more semesters if they choose to come back to complete all 4 seasons, which would be the 2021-22 campaign.

Green says, "The NCAA passed an extension blanket waiver but only for student-athletes exhausting eligibility this spring (2020.) So for all other student-athletes, we have to actually apply for a waiver and get it approved."

It is somewhat simple, but still a little murky in spots and there will be plenty for both schools and the NCAA to button up as the process moves forward with un-anticipated issues and player scenarios.

Tune in Wednesday night for my visit with CSC softball center fielder, senior Ellie Owens who sheds some light on the issue with her personal decision regarding the extra year, distance-learning and the possibility of getting back to the RMAC Tournament with a team that appeared headed that way when coronavirus crushed those chances this spring.

Owens will be on the Chadron State Sports Journal show Wednesday evening at 5:25 on 97.5 FM and streamed on panhandlepost.com.