On May 16, the NAIA released a statement saying that due to the spring sports season cancellation, they will not charge any spring athlete with a year of eligibility. They released this after the NCAA decided to give all spring athletes an extra year, which means we will be seeing a lot of familiar faces when spring sports return next year.
It is going to be a tricky situation for a lot of seniors especially because now they must consider a variety of options, ranging from what classes they could take next year, or even if they will make a return back to campus. What if they were planning on attending graduate school? What if they have a job lined up? Even though this year of eligibility sounds appealing, there are realistic factors to consider.
Since the announcement, senior spring sport athletes have been trying to balance the pros and cons of their different options. Focusing on Westmont, we have a lot of seniors who have spent their college careers representing Westmont, and now are unable to play.
When baseball senior Isaiah Leach was asked if he will return or not, he said, “No, I’m not. With the cost of Westmont I wouldn’t be able to afford it […] I’m also at a point in my life where I’m ready to move on from college and baseball.”
The financial burden, along with another year of undergraduate classes, is not realistic for some, including Leach. However, it is generous and considerate of both the NCAA and NAIA to allow these athletes to come back if they wish to do so. Even if athletes choose not to take the offer, it is nice to know that they have the option, rather than feeling as though they were completely robbed of a season.
Even though the season has been cancelled, the impact the seniors have left on all of these programs has allowed Westmont to continue the strength and character of its athletic programs. For the seniors who will return to campus next season, we are excited for the hunger and energy you will bring to the campus, and for the ones who will move on and start their new lives, we are beyond excited to be spectators for what your future holds. Warriors forever!