Happy Saturday, everyone. A couple of notes for your weekend:
In an unprecedented move, the NCAA officially approved what is effectively a blanket redshirt for all fall-sport players. Not those who opt out, mind you, but all of them.
Additionally, all fall sport student-athletes will receive both an additional year of eligibility and an additional year in which to complete it, as the Council suggested, through a blanket waiver.
The board also adopted the Council-recommended protections for college athletes:
Schools are prohibited from requiring student-athletes to waive legal rights regarding COVID-19 as a condition of athletics participation.
Schools are prohibited from canceling or reducing athletics scholarships if a college athlete in any sport opts not to participate due to COVID-19.
Student-athletes who do not enroll full time during the 2020 fall term have flexibility in the progress-toward-degree requirements that must be met for eligibility in future terms.
The financial aid of fall sport senior student-athletes who take advantage of the additional year of eligibility and extended clock will not count against team limits in 2021-22.
Needless to day, the ramifications of this decision are many. Ross Dellenger lays them out nicely here.
Ramifications of an extra year of eligibility?— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) August 20, 2020
Inflated rosters (110!?)
Another $$ burden ($2-4M potentially)
More “tough conversations” (cuts)
How the gap between G5 & P5 will grow even wider
“Will all universities be able to afford it? Probably not.”https://t.co/q0MjkCO7BN
Just like the decision for 2020 spring athletes, this decision offers another season of eligibility to the student athletes but does not require the schools to offer aid for an extra year. So, while Alabama may offer a sixth year to Ben Davis or a seventh year (!) to Joshua McMillon, many programs who already struggle to break even probably won’t. As Ross notes, the gap between the haves and have nots is only going to be exacerbated by the pandemic. They always say that sports are a microcosm of society, right?
Also, at this point it says that, while all players will get an extra year of eligibility, the programs will only get a scholarship limit extension for one season. That works out fine for 2021, for those who can afford to carry up to 110 scholarship players, but what happens in subsequent seasons? Roster management is going to be a nightmare. It seems that there should have been some sort of cap on games played to qualify for an extension, but that would open the door for coaches who get off to a slow start to encourage opt outs in hopes of having a stronger team next season. There are no easy answers here.
Last, you may have heard rumblings about an outbreak in Tuscaloosa, rumors that classes were going 100% online, etc. Unfortunately there was some confusion, as you see below, but we now have clarity.
An update from University of Alabama president Stuart Bell. pic.twitter.com/BKSwrzK05I— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) August 22, 2020
Frankly, Pope was doing exactly what he needed to do: warn students that outbreaks will lead to an even more diminished college experience. Unfortunately, some bad information made it into the local media and there was a bit of a fuss. It’s not surprising that you’d find such a high rate of infection in a small group of people who were known to be exposed to the virus.
Still, it is newsworthy that activities have been canceled for the next two weeks. Classes that were taking place in-person have not changed, and athletics are continuing as well.
Enjoy your weekend.