A week after the NCAA Division III Membership Committee encouraged institutions to make the best decisions for their student-athletes’ “happiness, health and safety,” the Division’s Administrative Committee has provided some administrative relief for institutions should the ongoing impact of COVID-19 affect 2020-21 seasons of athletic competition.
Two blanket waivers have been approved for all Division III sports:
- All student-athletes whose sports fail to complete more than 50% of their maximum contests/dates of competition due to COVID-19 will receive a season-of-competition waiver to ensure they can have an opportunity for four meaningful seasons of participation.
- Any student-athlete who is unable to participate due to COVID-19 or their team fails to complete more than 50% of their maximum contests/dates of competition due to COVID-19 and the student-athlete is otherwise eligible for the 2020-21 season is eligible for a two-semester/three-quarter extension of eligibility to extend their 10 semester/15 quarter eligibility clock and alleviate an institution’s need to file an additional extension of eligibility waiver if the student-athlete seeks to maintain full-time enrollment.
These waivers will eliminate eligibility concerns as institutions face competition decisions as the 2020-21 year progresses and alleviate the administrative burden should seasons need to be cancelled after they begin.
The waivers also permit student-athletes to make more informed enrollment decisions prior to the upcoming academic year.
For teams that complete more than 50% of their maximum contests/dates of competition, individual waivers may still be pursued on a case-by-case basis through the regular waiver process. Waivers typically require circumstances beyond a student-athlete’s control, hardship, or other extenuating circumstances. The extent to which other COIVD-19-related circumstances will satisfy these typical waiver requirements remains to be seen.
Jackson Lewis’ Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group will continue to monitor the NCAA in its ongoing response to COVID-19. Please feel free to reach out to any member of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group with questions.