Atlantic 10 seeks waiver allowing redshirt basketball players to fill limited rosters
As COVID-19 continues to affect player availability and subsequently results in game cancellations, the Atlantic 10, looking forward to a disruption-filled season, has requested a blanket waiver to adjust redshirting rules, the Atlantic said. curator Bernadette McGlade. Athleticism. Currently, NCAA rules state that if a basketball player appears in a single game, they can no longer wear a red shirt.
But the A10 is calling for redshirt players to be allowed to essentially serve as emergency substitutes for up to four games without burning their sit-out year. The request is that the waiver apply to all Division I basketball — men’s and women’s — and only for this year.
McGlade submitted the proposal on Jan. 4, after a host of games were canceled, including 19 in his own league. She hopes it will be implemented immediately. The NCAA, however, requested clarification on certain points. That will now be on the agenda of the men’s and women’s watch committees, which will meet next Tuesday at the NCAA convention. If the committees approve the proposal, the Division I board can vote to enact them immediately, at their Wednesday meeting.
“We’re basically into conference games at this point,” McGlade said. “We want to make sure we finish the season. But as my colleagues have said about a lot of things, there’s an expiration date on that. We have to put it in place.”
In light of the COVID-19 outbreaks, conferences passed policies that included a base number on how many players a team needed to have to play its game. Most leagues, including the Atlantic 10, have opted for seven players and a coach. But the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, coupled with the number of asymptomatic positives, is wreaking havoc on schedules, forcing teams to squeeze postponed matches into already crowded slates.
Time is also of the essence. Selection Sunday is only two months away, and the NCAA has yet to reduce its 25-game requirement to be eligible for the NCAA Tournament. Most teams have played, on average, 12 so far.
Just this week, the men’s teams in Providence, San Diego State and Michigan and the women’s team in Arizona State shut down due to COVID-19 outbreaks. In total, some 140 men’s teams have already taken COVID-19-related breaks, impacting some 200 games.
But coaches were understandably wary of burning a red shirt just to get a game. Most redshirt decisions are made in conjunction with a player and their family, as part of a designed career path. Still, if the redshirts had been able to compete, four of the 19 canceled games in the A10 would have been played, McGlade says.
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