Photo by Andy Hilton/recruitNoVA
The VHSL released a Q&A on the Coronavirus and their handling of eligibility and athletics
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
On Wednesday, recruit757 published the most current guidance from the VHSL as they released it to the public.
You can see the information in full by clicking here.
Here’s a summary of what they’ve shared.
1. There may be a spring sports season for the VHSL, but it’s looking more and more less likely. Spring sports events are not likely to be held in July and August since physicals expire at the end of June and school insurance expires at the same time. Additionally, there are events for spring sport travel teams and training and practice for fall sports athletes that happen in this time frame.
If there is going to be a spring sports season at all, it would very likely have to end by June 30. The VHSL also mentioned that since schools will be concerned with “learning opportunities, determining grading structures, (and) conducting major school events such as graduation,” it would be disingenuous to put athletics ahead of that.
2. VHSL athletes will NOT gain an additional year of high school eligibility. “Allowing some students 5 years of a sport violates the semester rule, and Fall and Winter athletes would not be eligible if they have had four seasons to participate.”
3. Athletes who have had their scholarship offer pulled because of the canceled spring season should take it up with the university. The VHSL washes their hands on this matter. The NCAA has granted additional scholarships to affected athletic programs, but the university would have to fund those scholarships.
4. There has been no decision made on Fall sports.
So if you’re a spring sport athlete, this will essentially be a missed season that you can’t get back. Your only hope is that the VHSL will squeeze in a season between May and the end of June.
Academics will have to be worked out if an athlete has spring semester issues that will affect their college eligibility. The VHSL is not going to allow an extra season of sports participation. If a student-athlete needs a fifth year of high school, they will not be eligible to participate in VHSL athletics in that fifth year.
In addition to all of this NCAA institutions are going to feel the pinch. The cancellation of spring sports, loss of TV revenue from March Madness, and the loss of miscellaneous funds like parking and housing to their student body as a whole will create a revenue shortfall for 2019-20 that will be felt in 2020-21. The NCAA may allow athletic programs to “grandfather” athletes into an additional scholarship year that would allow athletes another season of competition, but the expense for carrying extra scholarships will fall on the school.
School may have the capacity to carry additional scholarship athletes, but they may not be funded to carry those scholarships.
None of this is a big help to athletes and parents who are caught in the middle.
We have not seen an official statement from VISAA, the governing body of private school athletics in Virginia. Their eligibility rules are typically a little looser for a fifth year of athletic eligibility. If public school student-athletes absolutely needed a fifth athletic season, private school or prep school may be the only option. Of course, this goes on a case by case basis, so explore your options fully before making any decisions.
– Andy Hilton
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