Ahead of NCAA eligibility vote, student-athlete leaders release statement: “United as One”

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FILE – In this April 19, 2019, file photo, an athlete stands near a NCAA logo during a softball game in Beaumont, Texas. California will let college athletes hire agents and make money from endorsements, defying the NCAA and setting up a likely legal challenge that could reshape U.S. amateur sports. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher, File)

This year’s transition from the winter season to the spring season rapidly turned into a suspension of all activities across the sports world, an unprecedented move which will have unprecedented implications — and student-athletes across the country are making sure their voices heard.

The NCAA Council Coordination released a statement on the topic of student-athlete eligibility on March 13, expressing agreement that “eligibility relief” was an appropriate response for spring student-athletes who lost their 2020 seasons. It was also reported that discussions were still ongoing as to the status of winter athletes, many of whom lost the opportunity to play for a championship.

That statement, however, was not an official ruling, and a vote to define the NCAA’s response was scheduled for March 30.

As that vote approaches, student-athlete leaders across Power Five conferences, calling themselves the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) coordinated and sent out a statement of their own, detailing their recommendations to the committee, which go beyond just eligibility:

  1. NCAA student-athletes desperately need immediate support for housing and food.
  2. All athletes who did not have the opportunity to complete their championship season should be given the opportunity to pursue an extra year of eligibility
  3. Returning seniors should have their scholarships renewed, and those scholarships should not be counted toward financial limits.

While the statement from SAAC notes that many student-athletes are now struggling without their college housing and meal plans, it also calls for an extension of the NCAA’s potential ruling on eligibility relief.

“We recommend that eligibility relief be given to all athletes in spring sports, as well as to athletes in winter sports that qualified for post-season, and were unable to complete the entirety of their season,” the statement reads.

The SAAC concluded their statement with a call to unity for student-athletes across the country.

“Now, more than ever, it is imperative for our college athlete community to unify and support each other by standing up for what accurately represents the unified voice of college athletes,” they concluded. “We are United as One.”

The NCAA is set to vote Monday at 4 p.m.

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