CLEVELAND — When collegiate spring sports were canceled the NCAA instituted a rule allowing for those student athletes to return for another year of eligibility. However, those students who could return would be left up to the individual college. Over at Cleveland State University they've decided all their student athletes were essential in bringing back, and they are calling the program “Victory Lap.”
“Our student athletes who are impacted are certainly very excited that they have the opportunity to return to CSU,” athletic director Scott Garrett said.
CSU had 25 spring sports seniors and offered for all 25 to return, 14 of whom decided to come back.
“It was just like a dream come true. You always think that ‘I wish I had one more year of eligibility.' And then we're in this crazy state we are in, we were given it. So, it was just feeling lucky and grateful for being able to play again,” said Kateryna Avram, tennis player.
The university gave these student athletes three options from the academic side in which to choose. They could enroll in credit hours to complete their undergraduate degree; they could enroll in a post-graduate degree program. Or, they could enroll in a graduate program.
“It just works out perfectly so I can study what I wanted in my MBA, and at the same time play one more year. So, it just kind of pieced it together. So, it was perfect for me,” Avram said.
“It's almost a blessing in disguise that this all happened. Because it now set us all up. And I think that's one of the most unique features for this program too. Is, the fact that, if you are doing a masters, they will help you get that graduate assistant position in the second year to help you finish which is amazing,” said Nico Mostardi, tennis player.
Either way, CSU is going to assist in the financial aid of each student athlete returning to school up to whatever they initially received in athletic scholarships.
“So, we'll fund up to what they have received historically. Now if they take fewer credit hours, obviously the spend won't be as much as they've historically received. But they can receive up to that amount,” Garrett said.
It gives these student athletes another year to continue to follow their dreams.
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