And now, some good news: spring athletes to be granted extra year of eligibility, per reports

The last two days have felt like a decade. Every five minutes, the news cycle delivered a new body blow and the bad news flowed flowing like the dang Colorado River. On Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA delivered the news that fans would not be permitted to attend any winter sports championships including March Madness and the NCAA Hockey Tournament. This news, of course, was followed up by the NBA suspending its season Wednesday night after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus, better known to some as COVID-19. And that was just Wednesday.

The news only got worse on Thursday as the NHL suspended its own season and Major League Baseball postponed Opening Day by at least two weeks. That was then topped by every single college athletics conference canceling their conference tournaments in every sport. Not to be outdone, the NCAA took their fan ban four steps further and delivered the week’s most crushing blow by canceling all remaining championship events for the 2019-2020 school year, effectively starting the collegiate offseason three months early.

All of this and more happened in a span of roughly 36 hours thanks to the rapid and alarming spread of COVID-19.

But now, on Friday afternoon, to balance out the week from hell, we finally have some good news:

What does that mean, you ask? Well, I’ll let the professionals weigh in:

While this may not fully ease the sting of canceling all remaining sports for this season – it does hurt, a lot – there is now a silver lining to all of the doom and gloom. For Denver, this means that current members of the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, golf teams, and tennis teams will all be granted an extra year of eligibility after their seasons were abruptly cut short by COVID-19. This is huge for seniors like Ethan Walker, Danny Logan, and Carson Gregg, to name just a few, who will be eligible to return for another year of competition in 2021.

And the good news doesn’t end there. While the path forward is admittedly much murkier for student-athletes competing in winter sports as the vast majority of those seasons had been completed, the NCAA is at least considering how to make good for these student-athletes.

For Denver Hockey, this could mean another year of eligibility for seniors Tyson McLellan, Liam Finlay, Michael Davies, and Erich Fear, should they choose to take up the potential offer from the NCAA.

For the gymnastics team, senior star and AAI Award finalist Maddie Karr could be allowed to return for one more season of competition. Even for the ski team, whose season ended in the middle of national championship competition, this could mean another year of eligibility for each member of the best ski program in the country.

The bottom line here is this. The NCAA fully recognizes that even though it was absolutely necessary, canceling these events abruptly like this seriously damaged student-athletes’ careers and will be doing its best to rectify that.

There are many hoops still to jump through – think financial viability for potential fifth-year seniors – to make this happen but the fact that they are taking action this quickly and on a large scale like this is encouraging and cause for at least a bit of celebration in the midst of this international crisis.

As more news related to eligibility breaks, we will continue to update you via Twitter, primarily and other posts for major breaking news. So if you haven’t done so already, be sure to follow @LetsGoDU on Twitter to keep up-to-date with this situation as it unfolds and continues to affect DU.

Top photo of Ethan Walker against North Carolina courtesy of Denver Athletics

3 thoughts on “And now, some good news: spring athletes to be granted extra year of eligibility, per reports”

  1. While I’m happy the seniors may get another shot and the NCAA is trying to rightly compensate them for the lost opportunity, there are a ton of ramifications here that need to be really well thought-out.

    The biggest one in my mind is competitive balance. Unlike pro sports where talent and finances determine the roster, college graduation does provide a degree of leveling the playing field each year as more experienced players age out and new freshmen (and transfers) take their places. If then NCAA allows otherwise-graduating seniors to stay on for another year, those programs with heavy senior classes already will have an even bigger leg up on those programs who are not senior-heavy.

    Additionally, the impact of having two senior classes also creates a bigger logjam for playing time, and may impede the development of younger players and incoming recruits, increasing player frustration and creating more team chemistry issues.

    At the end of the day, I am firmly in the camp of letting the seniors getting a fair shot at playing for championships, but there is a lot to work out if they move in this direction.

    My guess is that most of the seniors have jobs or grad school lined up by now, and the coaches may only want some of the seniors to come back, given that they need to keep their underclassmen happy too.

  2. Scholarships aren’t addressed either. Schools only have a limited amount to go around.

    Academics, lab work, internships, and GPA are affected too. Online classes can only do so much.

    Personal finances such as student loans, apartment leases, etc.

    What a mess. Don’t know how to fix this. Wishing ALL the students well.

  3. As far as the winter sports go, I hate to say it, but it’s time to move on. The seasons are over and can’t be re-played.

    Another year of eligibility should only be granted to the spring sports like lacrosse.

    What happened to the skiers is a crime! The NCAA made a BIG mistake on that front.

    Wishing everyone good health and can’t wait for life to get back to normal soon.

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