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NCAA Division I Council takes new steps for student-athletes affected by Covid-19

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Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 5:07 PM CDT
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The Division I Council Coordination Committee took additional actions Friday to assist schools and student-athletes in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

The group issued blanket waivers for specific membership requirements that schools who canceled spring sports cannot meet (including minimum sport sponsorship and scheduling requirements, as well as form submissions) and waived the deadline for schools that are reclassifying to submit strategic plans.

Finally, the group issued a waiver to allow schools to reimburse student-athletes for any expenses incurred related to canceled foreign trips and prospective student-athletes for expenses related to canceled official and unofficial visits.

These actions follow last week’s decision to suspend in-person recruiting activity through at least April 15.

Council chair Grace Calhoun, chair of the Division I Council, shared the coordination committee’s action with members in an email.

“The NCAA Division I Council and its Coordination Committee recognize that the decisions they make must be grounded in the values of higher education and must reflect the realities of the challenges facing higher education. This is certainly magnified during this unprecedented period resulting from COVID-19,” Calhoun wrote. “To that end, as an example, the Coordination Committee, acting on behalf of the Council, took timely action to address health and safety concerns among student-athletes, prospective student-athletes and coaches. The Coordination Committee identified other issues that lend themselves to full Council review and decision-making.”

The full Division I Council will discuss and vote on eligibility relief for student-athletes whose seasons were impacted by COVID-19 and other related issues on March 30.

In principle, the coordination committee agrees relief should be extended to spring sport student-athletes and supports providing schools with a framework in which they have the autonomy to make their own decisions in the best interest of their campus, conference and student-athletes.

“The coordination committee recognizes that this local decision-making is made more challenging by the implications of COVID-19,” Calhoun wrote. “However, providing a broader regulatory relief framework will allow campuses and conferences to make decisions they believe are in their collective best interest.”

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