The Ivy League has decided not to allow its spring-sport athletes who had their seasons shortened by the coronavirus pandemic to have an additional year of eligibility as graduates, despite the NCAA granting that option earlier this week.
The move, which was announced Thursday, was consistent for the Ivy League with its policies. The conference hasn’t allowed athletes to participate in any sports as graduates.
“After a number of discussions surrounding the current circumstances, the Ivy League has decided the League’s existing eligibility policies will remain in place, including its longstanding practice that athletic opportunities are for undergraduates,” the league said in a statement.
The NCAA Division I Council voted Monday to give spring-sport athletes regardless of their year in school a way to get back the season they lost because of the new coronavirus, but it did not guarantee financial aid to the current crop of seniors if they return to play next year. Spring-sport athletes include baseball, softball and lacrosse players.
Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun, chairwoman of the NCAA Division I Council, said ADs in the Ivy League had many discussions over the past few weeks about what to do.
“We had hours of conversation since it’s an extraordinary circumstance,” she said in a phone interview. “We discussed allowing institutions to work with student-athletes up to and including allowing them to be grad students. Or do we hold tight and say our founding principles are what they are.”
In the end, the league decided that it believes in “undergraduate eligibility and despite the circumstances we’ll stick with that,” she said.
Calhoun said decisions ultimately were going to be made by the school presidents. For the policy to change, it would have required six of the eight to agree on the one-time leniency.