The NCAA Division I Council is expected to vote on granting winter sport student-athletes an additional year of eligibility either today or tomorrow.
According to college basketball insider Jeff Goodman, the DI Council will meet today to discuss and vote on numerous issues, including the possibility of an additional year of eligibility. If they don’t get around to the eligibility topic today, the vote is expected to come tomorrow.
“Told there is a chance that D-1 Council might not get to the vote on granting winter sports an additional year of eligibility today, and it could occur tomorrow instead,” Goodman reported. “Just depends on how quickly they move through other items today.”
In a follow-up video response, Goodman dove a little deeper on the issue, noting that the “precedent has already been set” and it would be wise for the NCAA to follow in its own footsteps after granting an additional year of eligibility for spring and fall athletes.
“The precedent has already been set, the NCAA did it for spring sports back in March, and then for the fall sports in August,” he said. “Now, the Division I Council will vote either today or tomorrow on whether winter athletes will also get an additional season of competition.”
Should the vote pass and winter athletes are granted an additional year of eligibility, this would not only give UK players one more possible year on campus, but also force the SEC’s hand to clear Olivier Sarr for the 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.
While the SEC can and does approve individual waiver requests on a regular basis – we just saw them do so with Joey Gatewood – this rule would force the league’s hand regardless. With a blanket waiver for a free year, 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.
With the NCAA already signing off on Sarr, the Kentucky big man’s eligibility would then be confirmed for the 2020-21 season.
The NCAA has to make the first move by voting for the additional year, but if and when they do over the next 48 hours, one would think an announcement on Sarr could soon follow.