While it is generally expected that the NCAA will grant an extra year of eligibility to spring sport athletes and deny an extra year to winter sport athletes, the full Division I Council will officially vote on these issues on March 30th, according to a press release from the NCAA.
The argument for spring sport athletes is simple: they didn’t get to play 75+ percent of their season, and, therefore, should be granted an extra year to make it up.
The argument for winter sport athletes is a bit more difficult. Most sports teams finished their entire season prior to the NCAA canceling all future sporting events. So, while these players didn’t get to participate in postseason play, they did get to play their respective seasons, unlike the spring sport athletes.
So, why would the NCAA grant them an extra year of eligibility? Well, they did play an entire season, but what’s the point if there’s no postseason play? What were they playing for?
Regardless of these questions, the feasibility of granting an extra year of eligibility is difficult for a multitude of reasons, including financial aid, incoming freshmen, and scholarship availability. And, of course, because college athletes are students first and foremost, according to the NCAA.
“The NCAA Division I Council and its Coordination Committee recognize that the decisions they make must be grounded in the values of higher education and must reflect the realities of the challenges facing higher education. This is certainly magnified during this unprecedented period resulting from COVID-19,” chair of the Division I Council, Grace Calhoun wrote.
This could affect a lot of Kentucky Wildcats, including all baseball and softball players, as well as possibly Nate Sestina.
It’s probably unlikely we ever see Sestina play another game in the blue and white, but we’ll find out his fate and many others in a little over a week.