DII grants fall athletes season of relief
All Division II fall sport student-athletes can play up to their sport’s maximum permissible amount of competition and receive both an additional year of eligibility and a season of competition through a waiver the Division II Administrative Committee approved Wednesday.
The committee also waived the Division II sports sponsorship and three-season requirement for schools and conferences for the 2020-21 academic year, citing the financial, scheduling and roster management challenges they are facing. This action does not impact the current contest and participant minimums for NCAA championship eligibility, however.
The waiver the Administrative Committee passed is similar to a pair of waivers it approved July 22, which granted all student-athletes additional eligibility and season-of-competition opportunities if their team completes 50% or less of the sport’s Bylaw 17 maximum contests/dates of competition. The first waiver still applies for winter and spring sports. Fall sport athletes, through the waiver approved Wednesday, are now permitted to play up to their sport’s maximum permissible competition limit and retain the same eligibility opportunities the previous waiver offered. This includes an extension of eligibility.
As part of their rationale for the additional waiver, committee members emphasized that fall sport athletes will not have the opportunity to compete for NCAA championships this academic year. Members also pointed out that any amount of competition fall sport athletes are offered in the spring will look much different than in previous years.
Additionally, the Administrative Committee provided flexibility for team equivalency limits for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years.
For the upcoming spring 2021 term, schools can exempt athletics aid given to fall sport student-athletes who would have exhausted their eligibility in the fall 2020 term and who qualify for the eligibility extension waiver.
For the 2021-22 academic year, schools can exempt athletics aid given to all student-athletes who would have exhausted their eligibility or season-of-competition limit during this academic year. This relief applies only to student-athletes who remain at their current schools. Transfers who would have exhausted their eligibility or season-of-competition limits this academic year and receive athletics aid in 2021-22 will count toward team equivalency limits.
The committee’s decision to permit schools to exempt athletics aid from team equivalency limits for the spring 2021 term and the 2021-22 academic year aligned with its commitment to provide flexibility for schools and opportunities for student-athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Committee members said this waiver is a proactive measure to help schools navigate future budget and roster challenges. Members said while not all schools will be able to use this permissive waiver for financial reasons and not all student-athletes who can take advantage of it will choose to do so, it was important to allow these opportunities for student-athletes when possible.
The Administrative Committee is composed of the chairs and vice chairs of the Division II Presidents Council and Management Council and one additional member of the Presidents Council. The committee is tasked with handling important Division II business in between quarterly meetings of the Presidents Council.