Per multiple reports, the NCAA Division I Council will recommend all fall sport athletes be given a free year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the season.
This would need to be approved by the Division I Board of Directors on Friday before coming official. Yahoo’s Pete Thamel was the first to report the news.
As to the scholarship questions such a move would raise, The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach reported that current seniors will be exempted from 2021 scholarship limits if this measure passes.
Assuming both measures pass, this would answer two of the biggest questions facing athletes and coaches right now. Moreover, it would apply not just to the conferences that have postponed their fall seasons, but everyone, no matter how their conferences are handling things or whether they opt in or out.
“We actually, a couple players read news about that, gaining that year back,” senior tight end Nick Eubanks said on a call with reporters Wednesday morning. “It’s not too many old dudes here but I talk to guys like Carlo (Kemp), Kwity (Paye) and Aidan (Hutchinson), guys like that, Chris Evans. We talked about that and potentially it might be something we’re thinking about and sitting on in terms of what we’re gonna do next year.”
Eubanks has yet to decide whether he will return to Michigan for a potential spring season. Offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield entered the NFL Draft Tuesday, foregoing this college football season, and defensive tackle Carlo Kemp seemed to indicate he would stay for a spring season. No other Michigan players have made public comments on whether they’ll stay or go.
Elsewhere, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger endorsed freezing eligibility earlier this week on a call with reporters.
“I think that it’s unfortunate that everybody has had to go through this, and I know it’s not the college’s fault by any stretch of the imagination,” Ehlinger said. “But the college experience is such a short-term thing in people’s lives and I think everybody should be able to get the most out of it.
“And then also, say they didn’t do that, and a team started off 1-3. Would you have guys saying, ‘OK, you know what, this year, it stinks. We didn’t start the season off right, so I’m just going to sit out the rest of the season,’ and say it was for COVID reasoning?”
“So I do think that there are issues that lie there, but I believe that with spring ball being canceled, the uncertainty of the season and no preseason games, I do believe that the eligibility should be frozen and guys should be able to get that back.”