How NCAA’s extra eligibility affects UB spring athletes


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The NCAA made a statement on Monday by granting all spring sport athletes an extra year of eligibility after college spring sports seasons were cut short due to the Coronavirus outbreak in America.

An extra year of eligibility for all spring athletes sounds great, but what does the decision mean for each individual college?

At the University at Buffalo, the sports that were affected are softball, men’s and women’s tennis, and men’s and women’s outdoor track. According to UB’s Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Kelly Cruttenden, the NCAA’s decision essentially gives a ‘redshirt’ year to the softball and tennis athletes, since their seasons were already underway.

For the track athletes whose season had not yet started, they will be have the eligibility to play next season with the year that they would have been this year.

“What the NCAA is allowing the spring athletes is giving them an extra year on their five-year window,” Kelly Cruttenden said. “Every student athlete, from the time of full-time enrollment, gets five years to compete in four seasons. What the NCAA is allowing us to do is to give them an extra year on that clock if they need it.”

For seniors that want to take the extra year of eligibility, it’s similar to a senior who wants to use their final year after redshirting. According to Cruttneden, they would either have to graduate and re-enroll in another undergraduate degree, or they can go to grad school. Either way, they would have to be a full-time student in either program.

This extended year of eligibility could have an affect on recruiting classes in the future, though.

“When you’re talking about the sophomore softball player that now has another season of eligibility that we expected to graduate on this date and now may stay, so that impacts classes down the road,” Cruttenden said. “For those underclassmen that now have not used a season of eligibility, those kids were supposed to be gone in this class. My coaches are really recruiting two or three years out at any given time.”

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