Wisconsin University has taken a realistic approach and decided not to seek waivers for seniors in spring sports. In March, the NCAA granted an extension on student-athletes eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Scholarship adjustments were made as well so the teams can carry this many players. Yet, Wisconsin decided that their student-athletes are not allowed to have an extra year of eligibility. It is unfair for the players, but there are more factors to consider.
Athletic Directors Take
Barry Alvarez is the athletic director at Wisconsin University. On a monthly radio show at Wisconsin, Alvarez told WIBA the reasons why the university won’t grant the student-athlete eligibility. He also said this was an overreaction by the NCAA to even grant another year. Here are some of the reasons why Wisconsin cannot have another year of eligibility for their senior spring athletes.
Graduation and Future
Alvarez says there are about 35 seniors in spring sports. That is a lot of mouths to feed for another year. Some of them plan to graduate before next spring. Others also have jobs lined up for when they graduate. In the radio interview, Alvarez says, “What we tried to do was encourage our seniors to go ahead and, if you’re going to graduate, graduate and move on with your life,”
A New Group Coming In
A new group of freshmen still plans to compete for Wisconsin next year. Making the roster size larger than ever before. This could affect the dynamic and chemistry of teams. Schools have to consider scholarships as well. It takes a decent amount of money to financially support these extra players. And right now, the university does not have that kind of money. Alvarez explains the situation and leads me to the biggest reason for the decision:
The biggest issue is the money that is needed to fund the athletes for another year. Spring sports include baseball, softball, tennis, golf, outdoor track and field, lacrosse, rowing, men’s volleyball, beach volleyball, and women’s water polo.
Along with Wisconsin, other Big 10 schools are taking precautions. Iowa University says about 25 to 35 seniors are hoping to return to school. Iowa’s athletic department estimated that the cost for another year of senior scholarships would be about $500,000. Looking to the west of Iowa University, Iowa state’s athletic department has already made cuts to their staff’s salaries in hopes to salvage their losses.
Like every other university, Wisconsin is short on finances due to the cancelation of the NCAA tournament and other spring sports. At this point, it is practically out of the university’s hands.
With the cancelation of professional sporting events, universities are doing their best to prepare for the worst. And that is the cancelation of college football. Of course, this decision has not been made. But if it were, it would bankrupt universities. For now, this is a reasonable decision for Wisconsin. Since 1990, Alvarez has been a Badger. He cares about this school as much as any other person at Wisconsin. He may seem like the bad guy, but he is just doing what is smart and affordable in this time of “unprecedented uncertainty in college athletics.”