NCAA grants eligibility relief to current student-athletes

EDINBURG —NCAA President Mark Emmert on Thursday announced the cancellation of the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as remaining winter and spring NCAA championships due to the COVID-19 public health threat.

“Due to the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, Division I Council leadership today agreed that NCAA member schools should make the best decisions for the health and safety of their coaches, staff, student-athletes, recruits and communities,” the Division I Council Coordination Committee said in a Friday news release.

This announcement impacted student-athletes and coaches across the country as their spring seasons, be it golf, track and field, baseball and softball, were essentially brought to an end. The immediate reaction from student-athletes, especially seniors, was that of disappointment. Their final collegiate season — gone without the chance to play another game.

But on Friday, the NCAA’s Division I Council Coordination Committee announced it would be granting eligibility relief to student-athletes participating in spring sports.

“Council leadership agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes who participated in spring sports. Details of eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time. Additional issues with NCAA rules must be addressed, and appropriate governance bodies will work through those in the coming days and weeks,” the release said.

The Division I Council leadership also addressed the recruiting process from NCAA members, which includes bringing groups of recruits onto different campuses for visits.

“The Council leadership also put in place an immediate ban on in-person recruiting for Division I coaches. Schools were also advised to suspend any official and unofficial visits to campus from prospective student-athletes. The recruiting dead period will be in place until at least April 15, at which time the Division I Council Coordination Committee will evaluate. Telephone calls and written correspondence are allowed during dead periods,” the committee said.