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UPDATE: D1 council votes to give all spring athletes an extra year of eligibility

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47 FSU seniors given an extra chance to compete for a championship.

Brett Nevitt

The NCAA Division I council will have one of their toughest votes ever today. The council is scheduled to vote on eligibility for all spring athletes on Monday. The vote will affect seniors the most, but all athletes are asking for their eligibility back:

There are four ways the vote could go.

Everyone gets eligibility back

The best-case scenario for current players would be everyone regaining eligibility. But this could create some major issues for institutions, coaches, and incoming players. With the MLB Draft shortened and most seniors coming back, if everyone got their eligibility back, roster numbers would likely be in the 45-50 range. This would make it very difficult for coaches to gather their scholarships and dish out scholarship money to their players, even if the numbers were changed. This might be the most-fair option for players, but the hardest for athletic institutions.

Only seniors get eligibility back

This is likely the most reasonable option, in my opinion. Only giving seniors eligibility may be unfair to other players, but it puts the smallest restraint on rosters and institutions. Seniors were the only group that wouldn’t be given a chance to play again if there was no eligibility given. But the NCAA could be against these first two options after losing hundreds of millions of dollars with the loss of March Madness. Many Power 5 programs are also worried about the potential loss of the football season. This is likely the best compromise and the most valid option.

Nobody gets eligibility back

Even people against any relief have valid points. USA Today reported that it would cost P5 programs anywhere from $500-900K to have their seniors back next season. One could argue this would be entirely unfair to seniors (and all players), as they did nothing wrong to lose their final season and should get that back. Others would argue once a player plays a certain number of games (beyond redshirt restrictions), his or her eligibility for that season has been used. If their season had ended from injury or poor performance, they wouldn’t be coming back, and we should put this situation into perspective when many others are struggling.

Move the vote back to June

There were rumors late last week the vote would be moved to June, but as of now, the vote will be held today. The council could still have the option to move it back to gather more information, such as the status of the football season. Going into the vote with as much information as possible, will make for the best decisions for institutions, but would continue to hurt the players. Players need to know the decision now. Seniors have to make career decisions. Will they still play college ball, or do they need to look for jobs? Juniors and their agents need to know the leverage they’ll have in the draft. Freshmen and sophomores need to know what their depth chart situations will look like and if they should plan to transfer.

FSU baseball has six seniors in their last semester of eligibility. Softball has five. Beach volleyball has four. Men and women’s golf both have two, as do the tennis programs. Men’s track and field has seven, while the women have 17.

We’ll keep you updated when the results are released, so make sure to check back later.


3/30, 6:30 PM UPDATE:

The Division one council has voted to grant all spring senior athletes an extra year of eligibility. Winter athletes will not be granted an extra year.

In baseball, this will save 100’s of juniors an extra year of leverage in the draft and will likely save them five digits of money if they aren’t taken within the first five rounds in 2020.

Now, the institutions will have to make due anyway they can, but this is a massive win for players, and the NCAA at that.