Clarksville, TN – Not since World War II has there been a suspension of college athletics on such a widespread level across the country, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) athletic program among them, as the NCAA and its members try to figure out how to deal with the ramifications of ending their seasons due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The dominos started to fall with the cancellation of the men’s and women’s NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament, as well as any spring NCAA Championships that would follow over the next few months.
But while the NCAA cancelled their championships, they did leave in open to the individual schools and conferences to make their own decisions on if they would continue, suspend or cancelled their individual tournaments, regular-season contest or post-season conference championship tournaments.
While some conferences – including Power 5 Conferences – have cancelled all of their spring sport events for the rest of the year, as of now the Ohio Valley Conference is one of the conference’s that have suspended all of their actives until further notice, or until a stated date in the future (as of now), and could restart or ultimately cancel their respective seasons too if more or new information dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) comes to light.
But it’s not just current sports that are being affected, recruiting for all sports has also been affected, as on campus recruitment is suspended until at least April 15th.
And while some still wait to see what their fates may be as far as they can return to play this year, the NCAA is already looking at what can be done for the athletes, especially 2020 seniors, as far as some sort of relief for granting them an extra season of eligibility/competition.
While the NCAA’s Council Coordination Committee has started the ball rolling on the matter, agreeing this should happen, it is just the first of many hurdles that must be jumped before any approval on the matter across the board.
But even with this announcement there are questions that need clarifications. What do you do for sports like basketball and hockey, who have played their regular seasons, but lost their post-season? Do they also get an extra year of eligibility?
And if the NCAA does dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s, what happens with recruiting?
If players can come back, what happens with in-coming players and their scholarships.
All NCAA sports have scholarship limits and having players return that should have finished/exhausted their careers could, and will, cause teams to surpass those given limits for next season.
Will the NCAA also give relief to schools who exceed those limits, as well as allow for extra spots on those respective rosters?
And this doesn’t even mention if a team has recruited a player that was going to come in and start, or play considerable time in their sport, may now have a returning senior back that could curtail their playing time and will that cause they to look to go to another school that may have an opening.
And then there is how are the schools going to pay for this? Is the NCAA going to help with this?
Still so many questions and right now not many concrete answers.
So right now, Austin Peay State University and its student athletes, like every other NCAA school much watch and wait to see what is going to happen. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a while.