NCAA Division III Approves Blanket Student-Athlete COVID-19 Waivers for 2020-21 Seasons
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.