On July 9, the Division III Administrative Committee approved two recommendations from the Division III Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, both concepts were originally crafted and proposed by the Empire 8. The first is to provide a blanket waiver for student-athletes in all sports whose team is unable to complete 50% or less than that sports maximum contests for the season allowing student-athletes to retain that year of eligibility. The second is a blanket waiver to automatically extend a student-athletes 10 semester/15 quarter eligibility clock should their team not meet the 50% threshold.

Empire 8’s original blanket waiver concept called for a threshold of 70% or fewer of a sports maximum contests. Upon review, the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee felt 50% was an appropriate standard and the Division III Administrative Committee ultimately supported that revision of the Empire 8 concept.

“We are pleased that the NCAA supported our concept of providing a blanket waiver in advance to the start of the fall season to protect the whole student-athlete experience and provide confidence to enroll this fall without jeopardizing their eligibility,” said Empire 8 Commissioner Chuck Mitrano. “It is an unprecedented measure and speaks to the values of Division III athletics and student-athlete experience. We are honored to play an integral role in this coming to fruition.”

Student-athletes whose teams complete more than 50% of the sport’s maximum contests/dates of competition during the 2020-21 season would not be eligible for the blanket waiver, regardless of whether the student-athlete competed in 50% or less of the season. However, individual waiver requests could be pursued on a case-by case basis.

By approving a two-semester/three-quarter extension, schools no longer would need to file an additional extension of eligibility waiver if a student-athlete seeks to maintain full-time enrollment.

Both blanket waivers will apply to all sports during the 2020-21 academic year on a one-time basis due to the impact of COVID-19.