Alabama Football News

DI Council recommends extra year of eligibility for athletes who play less than 50% of their fall season due to COVID

General view of mid field of the New Mexico Bowl
via: Kirby Lee USA Today Sports

On Wednesday, the Division I Council sent a recommendation to the Division I Board of Directors in regard to the eligibility of athletes whose seasons are cut short due to COVID-19.

The council recommended that all student-athletes who either opt-out of a season or have their season ended early because of the virus be granted an extension of their five-year period of eligibility as well as an additional season of eligibility if the athletes participate in 50% or less of the maximum amount of competitions.

Below is the full statement from the Division I Council:

“The Council recommended the board provide fall sport student-athletes who compete and then opt out of future participation or have a season cut short due to COVID-19: (1) an extension of their five-year period of eligibility; and (2) an additional season of competition if they participate in 50% or less of the maximum number of competitions allowed in each sport by Division I rules.”

These are recommendations are said to be the minimum requirements for the athletes and that even more protections may be discussed during the council’s next meeting on Aug. 19.

The members will also be discussing the additional Board of Governors’ requirements which include a prohibition on canceling, reducing or not renewing athletics aid for those who opt-out of the season and required medical charges for athletes who contract COVID-19 while participating in the sport.

“In this time of uncertainty, the Council members are working to create additional flexibility for college athletes whose seasons have been negatively impacted by the pandemic,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. Every day things are changing in college sport, and we want to be as responsive as possible, with the best information, to help student-athletes and their families make important decisions for their future. The Council worked hard today and will seek membership input before we make final recommendations to the board next week.”

The Division I Board of Directors will be meeting on Aug. 21 to review these new recommendations.

This release comes shortly after the decision by the Big Ten and Pac-12 deciding to move their football seasons to the spring due to future health concerns. Despite their decisions, the ACC, SEC and Big 12 all opted to continue with a delayed fall season.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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