NAIA Grants Extra Year of eligibility

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courtesy NAIA

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November of 2020 the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced that Fall and Winter athletes will be granted an extra year of eligibility following the Covid-19 Pandemic. Programs all over the nation were forced to abandon their seasons for safety and health purposes. Culver-Stockton College was one of the few programs throughout the country who chose to play a shortened schedule this past fall.

More than half of the Culver-Stockton College student population is involved in the athletic programs. There are more than a dozen senior student-athletes who plan on returning to their sport for the upcoming season in the fall. Some students are taking advantage of their fifth year by adding another major and others are pursing choosing to get their masters.

Senior Alex Gonzalez, an offensive tackle for Wildcat football program is one of the few players that decided to take the next step with their education and obtain a masters degree while he competes in for the Wildcats in the 2021 Fall season. Gonzalez says “Since freshman year I’ve had a lot of faith in our program and the direction the coaches have us headed in. One of our main goals has always been winning a conference championship which Culver has not done in along time and I believe that our team, with all the guys we have coming back that we can finally accomplish this goal.

Since freshman year I’ve had a lot of faith in our program and the direction the coaches have us headed in.”

— Senior Alex Gonzalez

Prior to the pandemic, eligibility relief was solely provided to the athletes who competed in less than 50 percent of the contest within a teams season. After the country was endured the pandemic, the NAIA in late 202 stated that all student athletes may chose to compete in all competitions following the upcoming season and will not count the 2020 season as a year of eligibility.

This past semester, fall sports programs at Culver-Stockton College took all required and necessary safety precautions before allowing the athletes to compete in close contact. One of those precautions required athletes to fill out an application that asked if they experienced any symptoms of Covid-19. If the athlete checked any of the boxes, then the team and school would act accordingly. Athletes are prepared to continue to follow these precautionary measures into next season in order to keep the student population safe.