Coronavirus: NCAA Spring Athletes Should Be Granted Another Season of Eligibility

On ESPN’s Get Up, legendary coach and hoops announcer Dick Vitale, joined Mike Greenberg on “The Day The Sports World Stopped,” to discuss the coronavirus

Vitale was adamant when he suggested giving players another year of eligibility based on the way the coronavirus has devastated the sports world causing abrupt, unimaginable ramifications for the lives and careers of scholar-athletes across the country with all Spring seasons getting canceled. 

“Announce the teams that would have been in the tournament and then all those kids especially the seniors and say to them that we are going to grant you another year of eligibility and it’s up to you if you want to come back or want to leave. I think that’s the right thing to do. Then go to the Spring sports and all those kids should have another year added to their eligibility and not be denied,” Vitale said. “I feel strongly about this.” 

He also questioned the abruptness of the decision to cancel all Spring college athletics rather than postpone and access the situation over the next month as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is doing. Silver old TNT, “It was way premature to suggest we had lost the season.”

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The NBA suspended the season last night

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“Why not follow the pattern of Adam Silver, who’s a brilliant leader?” Vitale asked Greenberg. “His decision… to postpone and revisit it in a month. Why didn’t the NCAA have a panel of great coaches sitting and brainstorming about how we can save the season if the disease is under control in a month or so?” 

“My heart bleeds for all those kids that wanted that one shining moment. I think about the Coach of Liberty, East Tennessee State coach Steve Forbes. I think about the kids at Dayton having a magnificent magical year that they may never duplicate. I think about the seniors that busted their guts so much, Oregon’s Payton Prichard and Seton Hall’s Myles Powell. Guys like Marquette’s Markus Howard and all those seniors… all those kids not getting a chance to (showcase themselves) and compete for a National Championship. 

Rushing to judgment as they did, I look back and think the NCAA could have waited a little bit longer to see what transpired.” 

Some current power program coaches also chimed in about the shocking revelation that no college championships will be contested until the Fall. 

Mark Few (Gonzaga):  “I think we all felt we could postpone into May but if that’s what they’re doing, that’s what they’re doing… This is a sad, sad day.”

Geno Auriemma (UConn Women): “This is the worst kind of news you can get as an athlete. (Coronavirus) is an unprecedented event so we have to take unprecedented measures.”

John Calipari (Kentucky) “Your last time playing wasn’t walking on the court…it got taken from under you.”

The coronavirus has already made sure that its presence will have a memorable and lasting effect on the sports world. We all feel it, on what we can call “The Day The Sports World Stopped.”

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