DIVISION II LEADERSHIP GROUP SUPPORTS ELIGIBILITY WAVERS DUE TO COVID-19
Manheim, PA – The National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division II Leadership Group recently met, and as a result, the following message was sent out to all the ADs, FARs, SWAs, and Conference Commissioners in regard to the Blanket Eligibility Waivers. The two attachments that were included with the message have also been linked below.
To: NCAA Division II Directors of Athletics, Senior Women Administrators, Faculty Athletic Representatives, Conference Commissioners and Executive Directors of Coaches Associations
From: National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division II Leadership Group
RE: Individual student-athlete welfare and enrollment in respect to July 22 blanket waivers
I am reaching out today on behalf of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA), in response to the NCAA Division II blanket eligibility waivers issued July 22 and how they apply to individual sports. It is our concern that the waivers in their current state do not appropriately protect our student-athletes’ eligibility in light of the uncertainty around the coming season and the rapidly changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. This uncertainty is leading to student-athletes inquiring about taking gap years and could have a very detrimental impact on the enrollment of our institutions.
As you know, many of our institutions are enrollment driven, and our sports are a huge part of that enrollment. At many of our institutions, we as coaches are being asked to expand our rosters to aid in dropping enrollment. In a survey of the NCAA Division II wrestling coaches, 96% of the respondents stated that they disagree with the current waiver in respect to wrestling and individual sport student-athletes not retaining a year of eligibility should their championships be cancelled again due to COVID-19. This overwhelming majority is requesting an amendment to the current waiver, as outlined in the document linked in this document. An FAQ document in respect to this request is linked below.
The student-athletes in question have already lost an NCAA Championship opportunity, putting them at a heightened level of caution going into this season and its uncertainty. We need to give these student-athletes the assurance that should a championship not occur due to COVID-19; they would not lose another year of eligibility. With this assurance, we can then guarantee that they will return to our campuses and keep our enrollment and retention numbers healthy.
Your support in requesting that the Administrative Committee review the blanket waivers and make an amendment to protect our individual sport student-athletes is greatly appreciated. This is a time-sensitive matter, as the beginning of the academic year is fast approaching, and these student-athletes are making these decisions currently.
Thank you for your time in reviewing this issue on behalf of our institutions and our student-athletes.
Head Wrestling Coach, University of Indianapolis
President, NCAA DII Wrestling Coaches Association