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NCAA grants athletes in spring sports an extra year of eligibility

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On Monday, the NCAA announced that its Division I Council voted to extend an extra year of eligibility to all spring sport athletes. These are the athletes who had their respective seasons cut short because of the coronavirus. For NC State, this includes baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s outdoor track.

Everybody in those sports gets a redo, which is extra beneficial for all of the seniors.

Notably, this eligibility forgiveness doesn’t include basketball—and this is not a surprise, since the basketball regular season was not cut short. It still sucks big time for those seniors who missed their last shot at the NCAAs, though.

In particular, the ruling probably has the biggest impact on baseball. Juniors get to preserve their draft leverage, while seniors can avoid what will be a highly disadvantageous draft situation this year. MLB is looking at a truncated draft—maybe 5-10 rounds rather than 40—and anyone who goes undrafted will be looking at a meager $20,000 signing bonus.

So a lot of talented draft-eligible juniors will be back in 2021 when they can properly leverage their status for more money.

Overall there remains a lot to be sorted out on the financial side, which is why the NCAA built a lot of flexibility for individual schools into its decision. As the USA Today notes, the scholarship price tag for returning seniors will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for major athletics departments.