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Should College Athletes have extra year of eligibility due to Corona Virus?

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

The Covid-19 Corona Virus drastically hit the country hard. Although the first report of somebody having the Corona Virus was in January according to The New England Journal of Medicine, America was very slow to do anything to prevent the outbreak. Things took a toll for the worst on March 11, when NBA star Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, became the first NBA player to test positive for the Corona Virus. The Utah Jazz were inside of Chesapeake Bay Arena about to play the Oklahoma City thunder, when officials called off the game. The arena was already full with fans and tip-off was minutes away. As a result NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended the 2019-20 NBA season until further notice.

In the following days every major sports league would postpone or cancel their respective seasons. This hit college athletes the hardest. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that senior’s in spring sports would be able to keep their eligibility and play their senior season next year. However, seniors who played winter sports such as basketball, their seasons were cut short right before the NCAA Tournament also known as “March Madness.” March Madness is the pinnacle of college basketball and every players dream to play in. Seniors would normally enter their name into the NBA draft following the March Madness tournament.

Players should have the option to enter the NBA draft or return for an additional season but must sit out for the first half of the season as a result. I believe that this would be a fair option for players. If a player wants to enter their name into the NBA draft they can but they should be also allowed the option to return for half the season next year. A lot of players in smaller conferences do not have much opportunity to showcase their skills during the season. When The NCAA Tournament is on, games are nationally televised and more NBA scouts are watching.

Currently due to the pandemic seniors do not have this opportunity and they run the risk of being undrafted. There are only sixty spots in the NBA draft and approximately two hundred players enter their name into the draft. The NCAA Tournament being cancelled is greatly hurting the senior’s opportunity to show their talents on a higher stage. Nobody was expecting this pandemic to happen therefore there should be somewhat of an understanding to help the student athletes.

The NCAA has already granted eligibility relief for seniors in spring sports. “Council leadership agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes who participated in spring sports,” the NCAA said in a statement. “Details of eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time. Additional issues with the NCAA rules must be addressed, and appropriate governance bodies will work through those in the coming days and weeks.” If the NCAA would allow an extra year of eligibility for seniors given the current circumstances of the Covid-19 Pandemic, it would greatly help the athlete’s chances of getting drafted next year.

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