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The NCAA Division I Council announced Monday night that it will grant Division I spring-sports athletes an extra year of eligibility because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The council’s coordination committee had announced on March 13 that it decided that “eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I athletes who participated in spring sports.” But the full 41-person council of athletic directors, athletic administrators, conference commissioners, faculty athletic representatives and athletes did not vote on the matter until Monday.

The decision is good news for spring athletes, especially current seniors whose final college seasons were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. But now it will be up to Division I schools to find scholarship money for the current seniors who want to return next year; some schools might not be able to accommodate all of those seniors.

The extra year of eligibility applies to all spring sports athletes, not just the current seniors.

The council did not grant winter-sports athletes an extra year of eligibility, however.

The NCAA will allow spring teams to have more athletes on scholarship than normal next year because of the current seniors who will be returning next year.

The council said schools won't be required to give current seniors the same amount of scholarship money next year that they are getting this year.

The NCAA will let schools use the NCAA's Student Assistance Fund to pay for scholarships for current seniors who will be returning. But it remains to be seen if there is enough money in that fund to pay for all those scholarships.

Baseball teams, which have roster limits, will be allowed to have more players on their rosters than normal next year.

Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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