The NCAA Division I council voted Wednesday to allow partial scholarship sports, like baseball, volleyball and tennis, to provide need-based and merit-based awards and scholarships for student athletes.
The ruling comes on the heels of the council's May decision that all spring sports participants will receive an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 and the canceled 2020 season.
The NCAA elected to provide limited scholarship relief to schools due to the increased number of athletes possibly on campus this coming year. In baseball, all fifth year seniors are allowed and receive as much scholarship as they had the year before. This decision furthers that by giving universities more flexibilty and players a potential for more opportunity.
A question going forward is how willing, and able, will universities be to award this aid? With athletic revenues expected to be way down during the 2020-21 school year and the uncertainty surrounding football it will be interesting to see how it is used this coming year.
The ruling will be a competitive advantage for bigger schools and potentially private schools, who are able to provide need-based aid and likely have more players that already qualify for it.
How it effects Tennessee is yet to be seen and likely different amongst every sport the ruling applies to. The baseball program could be in position to take advantage of the ruling. With only two fifth year seniors expected to return on scholarship, Tennessee has more financial wiggle room as it enters Tony Vitello's fourth season.