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Schools Approach Funding Extra Eligibility Differently

Jason Scott

After the NCAA granted extended eligibility for student-athletes in spring sports whose seasons were impacted by COVID-19 and the ensuing cancellations the outbreak caused, schools have begun stepping up to the plate.

While the NCAA decision opened the door for programs to grant extra eligibility to student-athletes, individual schools are still able to decide how to provide the additional financial aid. Schools can offer the full aid package, partial aid, or none at all. 

The Oregonian reports that Oregon State University will fund the athletic aid package of any senior student-athlete who wishes to return and participate in 2020-21, AD Scott Barnes said on Wednesday. The school has 28 spring sport seniors eligible for extra eligibility — though according to The Oregonian not all are expected to return, and the group receives different levels of athletic aid.

“We’re having conversations with seniors who want to come back, and we’re ironing out details,” Barnes told The Oregonian. “But we are absolutely doing it.”

Meanwhile, Louisiana Tech is planning to fund additional scholarships for baseball and softball student-athletes through private donations, according to a release. AD Tommy McClelland said that those two sports were singled out in part because of the hardships they endured last year, when a tornado destroyed their facilities.

“We would love to be able to do it for all of our sports, but from a budgetary standpoint, it’s just not feasible,” McClelland said. “You are seeing colleges across the country doing a variety of things when it comes to funding the additional year. Some universities are not funding any of them. Some are funding all of them. And some, like us, are funding just some of them.

"Everyone knows we have some fiscal challenges every year, and the additional cost of these scholarships along with so much other uncertainty in the upcoming year is forcing us to make some hard decisions. However, our commitment to this group of seniors has already been made."

Senior Louisiana Tech athletes in other affected sports, such as tennis, golf, and track and field, are still able to return and compete, but coaches in those sports will have to work returning athletes into their existing scholarship limits.

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