NCAA leadership is in favor of giving athletes a season of eligibility back for those participating in Division I spring sports that have had championships canceled amid ramping concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus.
At Auburn this would affect athletes participating in baseball, softball, golf, tennis and outdoor track.
The NCAA’s Division I Council Coordination Committee announced Friday afternoon that details of “eligibility relief” would be finalized at a later time, but that committee members agreed action would be appropriate.
The possibility of action being taken for winter sports still appears to be up in the air. At Auburn that would include basketball, gymnastics, indoor track and swimming and diving.
The Southeastern Conference on Friday suspended all sports activities at all member schools including Auburn until April 15.
That NCAA committee’s statement about spring sports was released on Friday afternoon — offering hope for players wanting another year of eligibility including the seniors who were in the midst of playing out their last season of college athletics this spring.
Auburn baseball’s senior catcher Matt Scheffler was among the athletes across the nation who earlier spoke out hoping for a chance to play again. “Something needs to be done to allow us to finish what we started,” Scheffler posted to Twitter on Thursday. “We love this game and we will wait as long as we need to play it.”
Separately from the public statement about spring sports, the NCAA also on Thursday sent a letter to institutions saying that the committee will also discuss issues related to seasons of competition for winter sport athletes who were unable to participate in conference and NCAA championships.
Sports like men’s and women’s basketball played out all of the regular season, but saw national championship events canceled.
Auburn men’s basketball was meant to tip off in the SEC Tournament on Friday before the avalanche of cancellations shocked the sports world. Auburn softball had just started SEC play and Auburn baseball had not even yet opened conference play.
The NCAA has separate committees tasked with coordinating communication between bodies in Division II and Division III.