Back in August, the NCAA approved giving all spring and fall sport athletes “an additional year of eligibility and an additional year in which to complete it.” On October 14, The NCAA Division I Council decided to do the same for athletes who participate in winter sports, including men’s college basketball.
Council chair Grace Calhoun, the athletic director at Penn, said the council hopes to use this one-time rule change in an effort to “provide as much opportunity and flexibility to athletes as possible amid the uncertainty that is hanging over this year of college sports.”
Calhoun told ESPN in an interview, “We felt it was important to make this decision now so student-athletes had the peace of mind to go into this season and compete. They know they can regain that eligibility and have their clock automatically extended, so they’re not taking that chance on the front end if they choose to compete.”
To put into context, this would mean seniors Luka Garza, Marcus Garrett and Collin Gillespie all have the option to return for another year in 2021-22. Likely not, however, as most will continue their journey to the NBA.
This decision will not only affect the 2021-22 season, but possibly affect the next three after, when this year’s freshmen will be seniors. This means coaches will have to adapt to manage a larger roster, an adjustment that will be interesting to observe over the next couple of years.
Outside of the question of adding a year of eligibility, the committee also discussed scheduling issues regarding the total number of games this winter.
According to Jeff Goodman, Stadium Basketball Insider, “Among the topics [discussed were] whether basketball players/winter sports should receive an additional season of competition [and] whether to change parameters of the 27-game limit. Right now I have to play in an MTE to get to 27.”
With this one-time rule change, the next few years of college basketball may be revolutionary. A lot of teams stacked with talent and seniors getting five years to break four year NCAA records. With the 2020-21 college basketball season right around the corner, decisions on this year and coming years are starting to be implemented.
“From Our Haus to Yours”