Rice Athletics is working through the scholarship situation for seniors in spring sports. Decisions will ultimately be made on an individual basis.
Most agreed that granting an additional year of eligibility for spring sport athletes impacted by the COVID-19 shutdowns was the right thing to do. Somewhat surprisingly, the NCAA held up their end of the bargain. On March 30, the NCAA D1 Council voted to enact a proposal to do just that, with a caveat. The level of financial aid a senior student receives in their “extra” season would be left up to the discretion of the institution.
Essentially, everyone was approved for an extra year of eligibility but they might have to pay their way, or at least most of it, themselves.
That’s a particularly important distinction considering the scholarship situation in spring sports. At Rice, Women’s Tennis is the only sport in which scholarships are distributed on a headcount basis. Baseball, for instance, splits up its allotted scholarship pool across the players on its roster.
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For instance, any player receiving scholarship funds could still be responsible for paying the majority of his expenses. The cost for a student to play one more season, in that scenario, would be the cost of a full fall semester as well as whatever portion of the spring semester that wasn’t covered by any scholarship dollars. That adds up, particularly at a private school like Rice where the cost of attendance is steep.
Only a few dozen athletes fall into this group. Some have already chosen to move on, taking jobs after graduation. Others are still weighing their options. Given all of those factors, the administration has reached out to spring sport seniors to gauge their interest. Rice intends to work with those student-athletes who intend to return on an individual basis. This won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution.
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