The NCAA has approved an extra year of eligibility for all fall athletes, whether they play or not, which is huge news for Washington football
On Friday, Washington football got a huge boost. The NCAA has announced that all fall sport athletes will be granted an extra year of eligibility due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. Schools have also been forbidden to revoke scholarships of players that choose to opt-out of the season. They also cannot require athletes to waive their legal rights in COVID-19 related circumstances in order to compete. Here’s everything we know, and what’s yet to be figured out.
What we know
The sport that will obviously be affected the most by this rule is football. Now, why is this a great thing for the Huskies? Not only will this give the Huskies an extra year with elite senior defenders Elijah Molden, Keith Taylor, and Levi Onwuzurike (assuming they decide to stay for another year), but that gives top tier recruits like Myles Murao, Jalen McMillan, and Sav’ell Smalls more time to get physically ready to compete.
If we don’t see the football team take the field again until 2021, there’s a possibility the team could look very different on the offensive side. The biggest change is at quarterback, where the Huskies still haven’t announced a starter if a spring season were to take place. It’s very possible that if we don’t see them again until next fall, that starter could be five-star commit Sam Huard.
What we don’t know
How will this affect the NFL Draft? The latest the draft can be held is June 2nd, and there’s a lot of time for players to make decisions about their next step. Will we see seniors decide not to risk their bodies and declare? Or will prospects like Joe Tryon, a fringe first-rounder, decide to return to school for one more year of tape? Will the NFL change their requirements for who can enter the draft for a few seasons based on the pandemic? The league could require players to stay in school for an extra year to make sure they’re physically ready for the labors of the NFL. This is just a theory, and anything is possible regarding the draft
How will this affect scholarship numbers over the next few seasons? This decision will be felt by everyone across the college football world over the next five seasons. There’s potential that scholarship allowances could fluctuate, which will have a huge impact on the recruiting world. The NCAA has time to figure these things out, and shouldn’t sit on their thumbs like they did to make a decision about the college football season.
There are a lot more questions than answers right now, but there is one clear answer. This is the right decision for the student-athletes in all fall sports. They deserve an opportunity to compete, and no one deserves to get any season taken away from them, let alone their senior year.