The NCAA voted on Wednesday to give eligibility relief to Division I winter-sport athletes regardless of how many games they play during the 2020-21 academic year. Athletes now have the opportunity to play five seasons within a six-year span rather than the typical four seasons in five years.
For college basketball this vote could be quite the game changer, at least for some programs. In fact, Minnesota might be a main beneficiary of players receiving an extra year of eligibility.
Think about it. One thing the Gophers don’t suffer from (except rare cases like Daniel Oturu) is players leaving early for pro ball. Do guys end up playing pro ball after graduation? Absolutely. But unlike the Dukes, Michigan States and Kansases of the world, Minnesota hangs its hat on long-term contributors who grow and are around for the long haul.
Imagine a guy like Gabe Kalscheur who gets to play a fifth year. He’ll be a really good, experienced player by his senior year. If transfer Liam Robbins is a game changer down low an extra year of eligibility could be a real boon for the Gophers. In fact, if the team does take a big leap with its newcomers it could be in prime position to really milk an extra year of eligibility from some talented veterans. They actually come into 2020-21 as a fairly experienced team.
Marcus Carr, a potential 1st Team All B1G candidate, will certainly test the NBA waters again after this season, but who’s to say what could happen after that. And just think about Eric Curry. Man, he might have his PhD by the time he’s done with college basketball (I stole that joke from Twitter by the way).
Long story short, receiving an extra year of eligibility for college basketball players is a very interesting development for a program like Minnesota which relies on coaching guys up and benefiting from having experienced players on the roster.