Approved athletics waivers grant athletes additional season of competition

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NCAA / Wikimedia Commons

In October, the NCAA granted its Division II collegiate athletes the option of an eligibility extension because of the ramifications of COVID-19. It is yet to be seen how this will affect St. Edward’s, as last year less than 20% of seniors on the softball and baseball teams opted to use an additional year.

St. Edward’s Division II student-athletes competing in winter sports may receive an additional season of competition and an extension of eligibility since their seasons may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement came on Oct. 20 after the Division II Management Council approved a waiver extending athletes’ opportunity to compete.

The waiver is similar to the one previously approved this year by the Division II Administrative Committee, which granted baseball, softball and fall sport athletes an additional year of eligibility. Each of these sports had their seasons and championships cancelled earlier in the fall due to the pandemic. 

Associate Vice President of Athletics  Debbie Taylor spoke of the impact the announcement will have on athletes. 

“There are some specific stipulations that each student-athlete must meet to be eligible for the waiver. Most, if not all of our student-athletes will be eligible for it,” Taylor said. 

At this time, the St. Edward’s Athletic Department does not know how many student athletes will use the waiver to gain another season as “less than 20% of seniors on the softball and baseball teams last spring opted to use the additional year,” according to Taylor. For the few number of student athletes who previously chose to accept the waiver, Taylor imagines they will want to receive a second year of eligibility. 

News surrounding how the upcoming basketball season will be conducted is yet to be announced. The St. Edward’s basketball schedule has not yet been finalized; however, there is ongoing discussion around ways to limit the potential for COVID-19 exposure to athletes. Measures being considered include reducing the need of overnight stays in hotels, Taylor mentioned. 

The plans currently in place follow an extensive travel policy in an effort to reduce the risk of exposure. 

“We are currently developing the protocols for home competitions. We know that spectators will be limited and potentially not allowed in the early stages of the season. Officials and table crew will need to be tested and wear face masks,”Taylor said. 

More measures being taken include requiring all basketball personnel, players, coaches and managers to be tested once a week until competition starts. According to Taylor, after competitions start, athletes will be tested three times per week on non-consecutive days. 

“Locker rooms are not currently being used and all equipment is being sanitized at a minimum of once a day, and depending on the situation, cleaned after each person. We want all of our student-athletes to be able to practice and compete, but only if we can provide a safe environment for them,”  Taylor said.More information on St. Edward’s decisions on athletics can be found here.