16 Mar Jonathan Cartu Implies: NCAA’s extra year of eligibility could mean no scholarships
Canceling the remaining winter and spring seasons could’ve ignited a huge revolt. The NCAA just took the first step to quell it.
All Division I student-athlete who played spring sports will receive an extra year of eligibility, the NCAA announced Friday.
Recompensing eligibility, however, doesn’t mean everything’s solved.
As Yahoo Sports alluded to, giving student-athletes an extra year to compete doesn’t mean the schools will also guarantee their scholarship.
Consider this: Division I and II schools offer nearly $3 billion in athletics scholarship every year. Each sport already has a scholarship limit so outgoing seniors who free up funds are essentially an integral piece in the machine of collegiate sports. Paying their scholarship an extra year, while at the same time expecting a new class, could cost millions.
Put differently, schools would be footing the bill for five classes on four years worth of scholarships until 2024.
Then there’s still the question of what will become of winter sports. Some coaches, like Steve Forbes of the 30-4 NCAA Tournament-bound East Tennessee State, would surely want the same courtesy.
“I will make it my mission to fight for another year of eligibility for our five seniors so they have the opportunity to turn their dreams into reality by having the chance to play in the NCAA Tournament,” the men’s basketball coach said in a statement Thursday.
So if winter sports are granted the same extension, imagine that price tag.
Most collegiate sports, save for football, cost more than they make. Although schools could probably find the money, it doesn’t seem likely. Profits have motivated all parties associated with the NCAA since day one. A little coronavirus won’t change that.
The NCAA has offered scarce details on how they plan to move forward and for good reason. Solving this will be no easy task. Their work is only just beginning.