• 66°

Editor’s Corner… The good, the bad, and the ugly of the NCAA eligibility decision

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com    
There was a loud shout of rejoicing last night throughout the country coming from collegiate seniors who participate in spring sports at the universities they attend.
The reason for such joy was that the NCAA announced that all seniors in spring sports would be granted an additional year of eligibility should they choose to come back and play their respective sport.
However, there are three different views that can be taken when looking at the ramifications of these decisions.
The Good.
Most obviously the best part of the decision is that athletes who thought they would be walking across the stage without getting to complete their playing scholarship will now have the opportunity to come back and finish that uncompleted season.
It plays well into the hands of those who play sports such as women’s lacrosse and softball where that after graduation there isn’t really a place to land in a professional arena.
The decision will allow players the opportunity to extend their playing career for at least another season.
For those that participate in baseball, the extension allows players to make one last statement as to why they should be getting looks from Major League Baseball.
Many entered the 2020 spring season knowing that a good season would solidify their name in the draft but when all of a sudden the season was brought to an abrupt end by the COVID-19 pandemic, those prospects seemed to take a hit.
Now, there is another opportunity afforded to those players if they so choose.
The Bad.
The bad part of the decision also reflects back to the last part of the good section as with many seniors electing to return to play one more season, where does it leave the incoming class of freshmen who have visited, talked to coaches, and scouted out where they could potential earn a starting spot in their first year.
Now, they find themselves potential two to three years from seeing the opportunity to take the field as they must wait for the senior ahead of them to finally graduate.
They could have taken another offer to a school where there was a higher potential to start right away with no seniors ahead of them but it’s not every day that a Clemson, Florida, Vanderbilt, or Florida State comes knocking on your door.
The education is worth the scholarship but ultimately they want to play professional baseball if they put the work in.
And one must remember that this is just not a one-season thing as the setback will affect the recruits for up to four to five years before this one season of decision finally washes itself out.
One last thing to consider in the bad section is how does this affect the decision of those high school players who may be drafted straight out of high school by the MLB but also have committed to a collegiate baseball program.
It will definitely take a lot of thought to sift through the best decisions to be made for the player and his family.
The Ugly.
While the NCAA decided to go ahead and approve an additional year of eligibility for spring sports, college basketball received no reprieve for having to cancel out the National Championship as teams that had already qualified through their conference tournaments like East Tennessee State University who had a phenomenal 30-win season were left wondering what if.
It also didn’t make sense that the NCAA didn’t allow for the season to resume when things had improved as the tournament generates nearly $380 million dollars which was to be shared between the schools.
Now, some of these same schools are going to have to address what do you to accommodate those returning seniors from the spring sports season who will be looking to receive help financially to return back and play their sport.
And one last thing aside from trying to paint a doomsday picture, but if COVID-19 extends for months like many experts are suggesting, what do you do with the upcoming football season should it have to be slashed in half or even eliminated.
Does a college afford those football seniors that are rising in the 2020-2021 season the opportunity to return as well?
This could be a real ugly mess from the area of collegiate sports once this whole pandemic is in the rear-view mirror and life as we had been living is restored back to a normal one.