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The NCAA announced Thursday that Division III athletes can compete during the 2020-21 academic year without it counting toward their eligibility, acknowledging that several sports will have their seasons postponed, canceled or shortened because of the pandemic.

The “blanket waiver” covers all D-III sports. It essentially stops the eligibility clock during the 2020-21 school year, allowing athletes to compete in the maximum number of games permitted by the NCAA without spending a year of eligibility. Athletes also will not be charged with a term of attendance, extending the five-year timeline to complete their four seasons of eligibility.

The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which has postponed all competitions until Jan. 1, is expected to announce more details soon about its winter sports schedule. Carleton already has canceled in-person winter sports competition through March 15. The Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, which includes several Minnesota schools, also has postponed conference competition through the end of 2020.

The D-III Presidents Council unanimously approved the waiver, which the NCAA said was supported by about 75% of D-III conferences. The NCAA previously granted an extra year of eligibility and an additional year to complete it to D-I and D-II athletes competing in fall and winter sports during 2020-21.

Hamline’s Miller chosen

Hamline President Fayneese Miller has been elected as chair of the D-III Presidents Council. She will begin her term in January.