The NCAA Division I Council has officially voted in favor of granting an additional year of eligibility for athletes participating in winter sports during the 2020-21 season.
According to college basketball insider Jeff Goodman, the DI Council voted in favor of the blanket waiver allowing athletes to retain their year of eligibility this winter whether they decide to play or not.
“D-1 Council has voted in favor of giving additional year of eligibility to winter athletes,” Goodman reported. “Won’t be official until close of tomorrow’s meeting since it could still be brought back for reconsideration.”
D-1 Council has voted in favor of giving additional year of eligibility to winter athletes, source told @Stadium. Won’t be official until close of tomorrow’s meeting since it could still be brought back for reconsideration.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) October 13, 2020
With this news, athletes – including college basketball players – will be able to play the entire season without using a year of eligibility. This means players like Jacob Toppin, who originally planned on sitting out a year to develop his game and body before returning to the floor in 2021-22, can suit up and help the team if need be while maintaining his original timeline. This is, of course, if the NCAA grants him a waiver for immediate eligibility.
In even bigger news, this news is also expected to clear the SEC’s hand to clear Olivier Sarr for the upcoming 2020-21 season. While the NCAA has approved Sarr’s waiver for immediate eligibility, SEC bylaw 14.1.15 states that student-athletes with less than two years of eligibility remaining must fulfill a residence requirement of one full academic year.
“A student-athlete who, upon enrollment at the certifying institution, has less than two years of eligibility remaining shall not be eligible for intercollegiate competition at a member institution until the student has fulfilled a residence requirement of one full academic year (two full semesters) at the certifying institution,” the official bylaw states.
With a blanket waiver, Sarr would – by rule – have two more years of eligibility remaining at Kentucky, thus taking out the need for one full academic year of residence at the certifying institution.
The NCAA has already signed off on Sarr. Now, the SEC has no reason not to do the same.