College basketball and all winter sports appear to be on the same path as football and the other fall sports.
The NCAA is targeting an extra year of eligibility for everyone on the winter sport rosters due to the unusual set of circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Multiple national reports have indicated that the NCAA could formalize the ruling for winter athletes next week.
“Winter sport Division I NCAA athletes should find out next week if they can get an extra year of eligibility, regardless of how many games they play this season,” Andy Katz wrote on Twitter.
Stadium’s Jeff Goodman had similar insights from the inner workings of the NCAA, adding that the concept is expected to pass next week.
“Sources: The Basketball Oversight Committees likely to recommend the D-1 Council vote next week on winter sports getting additional year,” Goodman wrote on Twitter. “Source: “It should pass based on precedence with fall sports.”
The extra year of eligibility for football has created several complications for programs as they attempt to manage their rosters going forward.
The NCAA addressed short-term football scholarship concerns by increasing the scholarship cap from 85 to 110 for the 2021 season.
But the football eligibility ruling is not limited to seniors, meaning everyone on the roster will be granted an additional year of eligibility.
Attempting to navigate when everyone will ultimately decide to leave the program will create uncertainty when it comes to recruiting.
How many open spots will there be in 2022? 2023?
Presumably men’s college basketball will temporarily increase the scholarship cap above the current 13.
For each of the least two seasons, IU has only carried 11 scholarship players on its roster. Head coach Archie Miller has cited concerns about playing time and maintaining a cohesive team as reasons for not utilizing all available spots.
That approach will be complicated if the NCAA moves forward with an additional year of eligibility as expected.
As Miller and his staff attempt to project what size class they want to bring in for future years, they will have to do it while speculating who might stay longer than originally anticipated.
Will a four year player decide to play five? Will a player decide to play internationally rather than compete in a fifth or sixth year in college?
Those stay or go decisions won’t be known for a couple years down the line, while recruiting classes are projected and built now.
And don’t expect the ruling to automatically mean that seniors Al Durham and Joey Brunk will be back for their fifth and sixth years of college, respectively.
For some players, enough will be enough.
Former center De’Ron Davis said soon after the 2019-20 season was canceled that he would not have come back even if an additional year had been granted.
For other players, a coaching staff might have to nudge a player along if they need the space on the roster or have different positional priorities.
The ruling could give new meaning and added significance to the “get old and stay old” approach to college basketball that has garnered attention in recent years.
But a team with fifth and sixth year veterans would likely complicate playing time expectations for younger players, and could add to another growing trend — transfers.
College basketball coaches make plenty of money and have massive staffs to figure it all out.
But roster management will be an even more interesting storyline than usual in the coming years.
The Division One Council vote is Oct. 13-14.
See also: Indiana’s 2020-21 roster
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