Athletes may not be getting eligibility this year

Senior+guard+Mateo+Rivera+celebrates+after+a+made+basket+February+24%2C+2020+afternoon+at+the+Screaming+Eagles+Arena.

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Senior guard Mateo Rivera celebrates after a made basket February 24, 2020 afternoon at the Screaming Eagles Arena.

Nik Cunningham, Publications Editor

Athletes were still able to get eligibility last semester, but only if they were able to come back next year. Now next semester is here and even more, athletes can’t play.

Right now the plan is for the students who can’t play this semester to play next year, which won’t be possible for students who are graduating this year or students who have neither the time nor money to attend school in the fall.

“If it’s a senior who this fall was his or her last year of eligibility, they would be able to come back next fall if they wanted to retain that season of eligibility. If it’s sophomore eligibility-wise, then that person would still be a sophomore eligibility-wise,” said Jon Mark Hall, athletics director.

It’s going to be a little different for soccer and volleyball, as neither are NCAA sports. Both sports will have a spring conference schedule ready to go so athletes will still be able to play and retain their eligibility.

“Regardless of what we do in the spring, the students from the fall will be able to retain their year of eligibility if we end up playing 10 soccer games and have a GLVC championship. They would get their year of eligibility back,” said Hall.

Hall said if the teams don’t play because of COVID-19, they could get their eligibility back the same as the other sports.

He also said that practice and conditioning for sports not being played this semester will continue so athletes can keep in shape for future seasons.

“We’re just trying to keep them conditioned and keep them engaged with their programs,” Hall said. “This time they get a little bit more time to focus on their academics. Hopefully, they’re taking advantage.”

Some fall sports, like golf and cross country, will still be competing this semester with masks, because they’ve been deemed low-contact sports by the NCAA.

“We are going to have a three meet season in cross country for the fall and their NCAA championship got canceled,” said Hall. “Then we’re gonna allow our golf and tennis programs to compete again with a little bit less of a schedule.”

Hall said while he would love to see athletes out and playing sports right now, that just isn’t possible and that he hopes students will understand.

“The goal right now is doing whatever we can to minimize risk and, and, hopefully, we can get back to playing here soon,” said Hall.