NCAA extension creates difficult decision

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor

NCAA announced on March 30 that spring-sport college athletes all over the United States will receive an extra year of eligibility due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level,” Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Penn, said on the NCAA’s official website. “The Board of Governors encouraged conferences and schools to take action in the best interest of student-athletes and their communities, and now schools have the opportunity to do that.”

Senior spring athletes had sighs of relief when the NCAA made this announcement.  The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced that the rest of the season was cancelled after long deliberation.

While the extension is a no brainer for most athletes, seniors have to make a choice to take an extra year in college to play an extra year. It’s a tough decision both financially and career-wise.

Senior softball pitcher Marnie Skinner is the perfect example of an athlete that has to make this choice, but it was a no-brainer for her. Despite the extra year of eligibility, Skinner decided not to continue at Iona and move forward with her studies. Skinner was accepted into Johns Hopkins University’s biochemistry and molecular biology Ph.D. program.

“Even though I would love to get to finish my last year of softball, I cannot pass up this opportunity to further my education and get closer to my career goals,” Skinner said in an email interview.

Skinner was shocked to hear the announcement. The NCAA is typically really strict with their guidelines and rules, and to hear them announce an extension appeared out of character for the athletics organization.

“I think it was the right thing to do,” Skinner said via email. “These were extreme circumstances and there are a lot of individuals who are able to return and want to…they should have that opportunity.”

Despite the decision to move on to her next chapter in life, Skinner still understands what she’s missing out on.

“I am still a bit sad things had to end this way because I knew from the beginning I would be unable to return and experience all of the fun events that happen as a senior, and I won’t get to play with my girls ever again,” Skinner said via email. “But we had a good start to the year nonetheless so I hope those able to return can pick up where we left off. I’ll be cheering for them from the sidelines from here on out.”