Spring-season college student-athletes and potentially those who play winter sports could get an extra year of eligibility to compensate for the current cancellation of sports because of the coronavirus, the NCAA informed member schools on Friday.
The Division I Board of Governors directed schools in Divisions I, II and III to "enact modifications, changes or waivers to legislation and rules where appropriate to provide necessary relief" because of COVID-19.
The NCAA said that its Council Coordination Committee agreed it would be appropriate for spring athletes to be granted "an additional season of competition, including financial aid implications."
It added that the committee will discuss issues related to winter sports athletes "who were unable to participate in conference and NCAA championships."
Ohio State baseball coach Greg Beals applauded the decision. His team had been scheduled to have its home opener Friday.
"I believe it’s the right thing to do," Beals said. "These guys barely got 25 percent of their season in. To have that burn a year of eligibility is tough.
"Obviously, there's a lot of work that needs to be done on the backside of that decision -- what roster limits are, what scholarship limits are and some of those other factors -- but I think the main decision of granting eligibility is the right decision."
The NCAA called off its 2020 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments on Thursday as part of a wave of cancellations that has essentially shut down the sports world. The Big Ten announced that it had canceled all conference and non-conference competition.
On Friday afternoon, Ohio State officially canceled spring football practice through at least April 6. All athletic facilities will be closed. Players must clear out their lockers by 5 p.m. Monday. They are encouraged to take online classes for the rest of the semester from home.