LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - On March 30 the NCAA’s Division I Council voted to allow spring sport student-athletes an additional year of eligibility and extended their eligibility period. Under normal circumstances, barring an NCAA exception, student-athletes have five years to complete four seasons of eligibility.
The immediate decision was for those seniors who had seemingly exhausted their eligibility. Each NCAA member school was allowed to make the decision about how much aide would be afforded those athletes.
Lost in the shuffle was extra eligibility for the other classes.
“We’re talking about thousands and thousands of high school recruits that this spring sports do over rule affects,” said former UofL head tennis coach Rex Ecarma.
Ecarma is currently the head professional at Owl Creek Country Club and consults with kids on the college recruiting process, including his 17 year-old son, Xavier.
‘There have been a lot of coaches where they’re really unsure, especially my grade,” Xavier said. “Which is a year in advance. They’re not sure how many spots they’re gonna have on their team for that year, or if they’re gonna have any spots.”
Xavier is a Division I level recruit. He’s looking at mid-major DI’s and is considering UofL. He figures to be competing for those spots, not only with other high school recruits, but established college players as well. He is the #2 ranked player in the state of Kentucky in his age group and is #45 in the Southern section.
“The college coaches, my friends that are still in the business, they’re kind of in a quandary in a sense, like, do I try to re-recruit my senior or do I try to get this five star, four star, blue chip type of junior.” Rex Ecarma said.
The bottom line is that more kids will be competing for less spots on college teams. It’s an issue now and could be an even bigger one if college athletic budgets are slashed even further by any potential cuts in the college football season.
Some schools have already dropped their tennis programs. Grad transfers could also flood the market.
In the end Rex says he has some simple advice for his son and the other kids he works with.
“If a college that you like offers you, you want to take it,” he said.
“I feel like if there’s a good opportunity there at a good school, that I like, I would probably take it earlier than if it was a different scenario,” Xavier said.
The recruiting ripple effect figures to be around for at least the next five years.