While colleges, universities, and student-athletes across the country continue to react to the ramifications of the sudden and unprecedented cancellation of the NCAA National Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship, as well as cancellation of the collegiate spring sports competitive seasons for sports (including baseball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, softball, and men’s volleyball),

the NCAA has already reacted.

The NCAA has announced that it will consider and potentially adopt modifications, changes, or waivers to current NCAA legislation in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student-athletes.

Specifically, the NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee has announced the following actions on behalf of Division I:

Eligibility Relief for Spring Sports Athletes – The Committee agreed that it will be appropriate to grant relief for the use of a season of competition for student-athletes who have participated in spring sports. In considering this, several issues would need to be addressed related to providing an additional season of competition, such as a waiver of current scholarship limitations, financial aid implications, and existing roster size limitations.

Division I Council Committee Chair Dr. Grace Calhoun, the athletic director at the University of Pennsylvania, also announced that the Committee will discuss similar eligibility considerations for winter sport student-athletes who were unable to participate in conference and NCAA championships. The Committee agreed that it will review and discuss all of these eligibility issues in a timely manner.

Cessation of Recruiting Activities – The NCAA announced the adoption of emergency legislation to establish a temporary recruiting dead period (as defined in NCAA Bylaw 13.02.5.5) in all NCAA Division I sports, effective immediately. The dead period will remain in effect at least until April 15 and includes official and unofficial visits, contacts, and evaluations.

To better support and assist our clients as they respond to this challenging public health issue, Jackson Lewis has established a dedicated COVID-19 Task Force that is continually assessing risks, preparing employee communications, and providing practical advice on the compliance issues flowing from Coronavirus workplace concerns and the travel restrictions and new facts we are continuing to learn about COVID-19.

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 or assistance with an introduction to a Task Force member

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Photo of Gregg E. Clifton Gregg E. Clifton

Gregg E. Clifton is a Principal in the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is Co-Leader of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group and serves as the editor of the firm’s sports law blog.

Mr. Clifton has extensive experience in…

Gregg E. Clifton is a Principal in the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is Co-Leader of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group and serves as the editor of the firm’s sports law blog.

Mr. Clifton has extensive experience in the collegiate and professional sports world. He has advised numerous professional franchises on general labor and employment issues, including Title III ADA regulatory compliance and wage and hour issues. He serves as lead counsel for several Major League Baseball teams in their salary arbitration matters and has represented NCAA and NAIA collegiate clients regarding rules compliance, investigatory matters and in disciplinary hearings. In addition, he has handled Title IX investigations and compliance issues for NCAA and NAIA member institutions. Mr. Clifton has also worked extensively in the area of agent regulation and enforcement in professional and college sports and regularly provides counsel on issues relating to NCAA and NAIA amateurism issues and athlete eligibility questions. He has also served as an expert witness in matters involving sports agents’ work and responsibilities, as well as athlete compensation issues.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, he spent six years as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Team Sports for Gaylord Sports Management. He also served as President of the Athlete and Entertainment Division for famed sports attorney Bob Woolf’s firm, Woolf Associates, in Boston.

Mr. Clifton began his career as an Associate at Jackson Lewis where he focused his practice on traditional labor law. He continues to counsel clients in the areas of collective bargaining negotiations, representation cases, arbitrations and National Labor Relations Board matters.

Mr. Clifton frequently serves as an expert speaker to law schools, including Harvard University, Boston College, Hofstra University and Arizona State University, and bar associations regarding sports law issues, including agent regulation and salary arbitration. He is also often cited as an expert source in national news media for his commentary and opinion on legal issues in sports.