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JUCO Update: Covid-19 Eligibility Amendment


Walt Jones
JUCO Wire Director

 

With the Covid-19 crisis comes many challenges and changes that bring on new opportunities for all. The tragedy has swept across our nation and around the globe leading to several new adjustments in the sports world. Most high school baseball student-athletes have all basically lost their senior season, the NCAA has granted an additional year of competition to athletes participating in spring sports and Major League Baseball has made the decision to shorten its amateur draft. With all of the changes going on in the baseball world, the NJCAA has been very clear in its decisions throughout the process.  

The NJCAA has also made its rulings in response to Covid-19 regarding student-athlete eligibility. In an April 19, 2020 press release, the NJCAA granted second year players an additional year of scholarship at their present (2019-20) institution that will not count towards their institution’s total scholarship limit for the 2020-21 season, as stated in the following excerpt from the NJCAA’s press release:

“At the NJCAA Board of Regents meeting on April 3, the Board approved an amendment to the number of Letters of Intent allowed for the 2021 Spring Sports season. Second-season student-athletes enrolled at an NJCAA member college and were signed to a spring sport LOI for the Spring 2020 academic term, may receive a scholarship at the same institution for the 2020-2021 academic year and not be counted against the scholarship limit.”

With this, the NJCAA, NCAA and NAIA are all viewing the 2020 baseball season in a way that is consistent across the board. Student-athletes are not being penalized with a season of participation for the spring 2020 season. 

This ruling is one that seems fair and proper on the surface but will be interesting to watch unfold moving forward. 

  • NCAA member institutions will have increased roster sizes in the 2020-21 competition season with underclassmen receiving an additional year of competition. 

  • MLB has reduced its number of rounds in the 2020 draft from 40 rounds to what can be as low as 5 rounds.

  • MLB holds the right to reduce the 2021 draft to as few as 20 rounds. 

These decisions, while fair, will put a serious kink in the amateur baseball pipeline as there are more NJCAA prospects headed to NCAA institutions with considerably less prospects moving out of the NCAA ranks. This could get interesting. 

NJCAA Press Release - April 19, 2020

NJCAA COVID-19 Homepage

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